You might have seen a setting called bridge mode while you were in the router’s dashboard to change the SSID of your router or enable WPA2 encryption for increased security. The term bridge mode in networking refers to the NAT feature of a router being disabled.
Two routers are bridged to extend router functionality and improve Internet connections. The secondary Wi-Fi router acts as an extension of the primary Wi-Fi network. Bridging is mainly done to extend the range of your wireless network. Another benefit is improved bandwidth and efficiency.
Read on to understand bridge mode, its advantages and disadvantages, and when you may use it.
A networking feature that enables two routers to work together is bridge mode. It effectively converts the corresponding router into a switch when it is enabled. Although the bridge-enabled router still performs data transfer, it won’t carry out standard Network Access Translation (NAT) procedures.
Instead, the bridge-enabled router will provide the connected devices access to all its ports. Therefore, bridge mode is the setting that turns off the modem’s NAT feature and enables a router to serve as a DHCP server without encountering an IP address conflict.
Since applications like VPN, P2P, and remote management require a public IP address on the router’s WAN port for a successful connection, you must bridge the modem before connecting to a router.
Advantages of Bridge Mode
Now, let’s go over some advantages of enabling bridge mode.
Increased Wi-Fi Coverage
You can bridge two routers together to get speed and range. The second router serves as a wireless access point to your network. Both routers will share the same IP address. This additional router will be an access point for a new network without bridging.
Thus, you can increase the Wi-Fi coverage area of your company by employing bridge mode. For example, a single router might not be adequate if your company uses a huge office or other large commercial location.
Higher Maximum Bandwidth
Bridging two routers together will boost your wireless network’s overall bandwidth and improve range. Since bridging two routers essentially doubles this bandwidth limit, you are free to connect dozens of mobile devices, PCs, and smart appliances.
As indicated, your maximum range and bandwidth are increased by bridging numerous routers. All of this adds up to more effectiveness across your network. In addition, as both routers have the same public IP address, there won’t be any tainted connections.
Furthermore, because of the increased capacity, your network won’t ever become congested from having many devices connected simultaneously.
Double NAP Prevention
Bridge mode inhibits double NAP by stopping the NAP operations carried out by the router that has bridge mode activated. The router with bridge functionality will merely connect to the other router to increase its coverage. Only one of the two routers will carry out NAP operations when they share the same IP address.
The two bridging routers also share any changes you make to the primary router’s settings and their static IP addresses. In other words, you won’t need to access the secondary “bridged” router; instead, you only need to make the appropriate adjustments to this primary router.
Easy Device Communication
The ability of devices connected to both routers to communicate with one another is another benefit of using bridge mode.
If you have a printer connected to the primary router via a network wire, you won’t be able to print or access files since the second router’s devices won’t communicate with those attached to the first.
Without bridge mode, there is no crossover because each router broadcasts its private Wi-Fi network.
Disadvantages of Bridge Mode
The primary disadvantage of using bridge mode is that it limits some of the features available on a router. For example, bridge mode may disable helpful features like parental controls and MAC address filtering.
There’s a way to get around this: bridging your primary ISP-provided modem/router instead of the connected router. However, there’s a chance that this is not possible, as some routers provided by ISP usually lack this option. If that’s the case, you should enable bridge mode on the secondary router and connect all your devices there instead.
Bridge mode works well when you require more extensive Wi-Fi coverage and are moving further from your network. Additionally, it facilitates smooth communication between devices linked to the private network.
The use of bridge mode is not always required. For example, there is no need to use this feature if your Wi-Fi is functional and has no performance difficulties. However, if your Wi-Fi is unreliable, you might want to use bridge mode. When enabled, it will convert one of your routers into a switch, enabling it to increase the Wi-Fi range.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the following circumstances, bridge mode is recommended.
• If you’re adding a router to your network.
• If you’re setting up a mesh network for Wi-Fi.
• If you want to prevent NAT clashes.
Depending on the brands and models of your routers, this will change. However, viewing the web browser address bar will require an Ethernet cable, accessible Ethernet ports, and Internet connectivity.
SSID (Service Set Identifier) is the shorthand designation for a wireless network. Look for a sticker with your network’s information, including network name and password, near the bottom of your router to identify your network’s SSID.
Network Address Translation (NAT) in computer networking entails rewriting IP packets’ source and destination addresses as they move through a router. Numerous hosts on a private network can use a single public IP address to access the internet, thanks to NAT.
You can connect several routers to a NAP, a high-speed switch, or a network of switches to exchange traffic. NAPs must be capable of being increased in response to usage and demand, and they must operate at speeds of at least 100 Mbps.