Bridge vs Normal Interface

A network interface is a hardware or software component that connects a device, such as a computer or a router, to a network. It allows the device to send and receive data over the network. A bridge interface, on the other hand, is a specific type of network interface that serves as a connection point between two or more separate network segments.

Here are the key differences between a bridge interface and a normal network interface:

  1. Functionality:
    • Normal Network Interface: A normal network interface (often referred to as a regular or standard network interface) is used to connect a device to a single network segment. It has an IP address and is responsible for sending and receiving data to and from that network segment.
    • Bridge Interface: A bridge interface is designed to connect multiple network segments together. It operates at the data link layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model and is used to forward Ethernet frames between the connected segments.
  2. Number of Segments:
    • Normal Network Interface: Connects a device to a single network segment, and it typically has one IP address assigned to it.
    • Bridge Interface: Connects two or more network segments together, allowing devices on each segment to communicate as if they were part of the same network.
  3. Operation:
    • Normal Network Interface: Operates independently, and the communication is limited to devices on the same network segment.
    • Bridge Interface: Operates by learning the MAC addresses of devices on each connected segment and forwarding frames only to the appropriate segment based on MAC address tables. This creates a logical connection between the separate segments.
  4. Use Cases:
    • Normal Network Interface: Used for connecting devices to a local network or the Internet.
    • Bridge Interface: Used to segment networks, extend network coverage, or create more efficient and isolated network configurations.
  5. IP Addressing:
    • Normal Network Interface: Usually assigned an IP address, allowing devices to communicate using IP-based protocols.
    • Bridge Interface: Typically doesn’t require an IP address, as it operates at the MAC address level and doesn’t involve IP routing.

In summary, a normal network interface connects a device to a single network segment and is associated with IP-based communication, while a bridge interface connects multiple network segments together at the data link layer, facilitating communication between devices on different segments as if they were on the same network.