A bridge is a physical device that connects one LAN to another LAN. When using bridge networks, computer addresses don’t have a specific relationship to location.

For this reason a bridge would send a message out in all directions.  It does however have a learning table that can “learn” where the computer is located on the network so in the future it can learn to send messages faster because they remember where the computer is on the network.

One way of thinking about a bridge network is a college for example.  A college campus can have many buildings.  Each one of these buildings have a LAN of their own. Bridges would be used to connect each one of these LAN networks together.

The bridges in turn would learn over time through the sending and receiving of messages from each of the computers on each of the LANs where each computer or workstation is and will remember where they are to reduce the time it takes to send and receive messages.

Bridging makes it inexpensive and easy to connect multiple LANs. Windows XP. Windows server 2003, standard edition, and Windows server 2003 enterprise edition allow you to use the bridge feature.

There is no configuration required to use this feature.  Another plus is that you don’t have to purchase any more equipment such as routers or physical bridges.