Bridge vs. Router – Which performs better?

To set-up the ideal network connection, you might have to choose between a bridge and a router as they are both well-trusted and reviewed. Which then is the better option?

Choosing the right networking devices entails looking at a number of features. For example, the technology and chipset used to develop a product highly weighs in the how good it will perform wherever you place it in your office or home. Bridges and routers are two options that are likely to pop up in your quest for the best set-up. While they are both connection devices, they do have their own subtle differences.

This article has been created to help you pick between bridges and routers. There are many testimonials and commentaries on these. However, there is need to have a comparison overview of how each work to help you pick between the two. They both have a lot going on for them but there are few factors that you need to consider to find the one that will meet all your expectations.

What are the differences between Bridge and Router?

Model
Bridge
Router
Affordability
Low-end prices available, renewed products as well
High-tech routers come with higher prices but there are affordable options as well
Performance
Works at the data link layer for filtering and forwarding
Attached to two or more networks and transfers data signals between them
Mode
Single domain
More than one broadcast domain
 

Bridge vs. Router – A look at how they differ

Features and Performance

Bridges have common features that cut across. First, bridges operate in the data and physical link layers. Once connected, the primary goal for a bridge is to filter, send or flood all frames depending on their individual MAC address. Bridges also use certain hardware like the ASIC chip. Application Specific Integrated Circuit in bridges is used to maintain your network as well as do filtering functions.

Routers come built to offer stable and reliable internet connection in your home or office. For instance, new generation routers have the revolutionary MU-MIMO (multiple-user, multiple-input, and multiple-output) and Beamforming technology. Simply put, these ensure that a router can handle many connected devices even with those that have resource intensive needs like HD streaming and online gaming.

Design

The design on your bridge largely depends on which version you go for between single, multiport and transparent bridges. Nonetheless, they are all designed to be as compact sized as possible to be a good fit for all kinds of places.

As for the design on routers, it largely depends on the kind of company you go for. TP-Link for example usually have a futuristic, all-black design. Eero and Orbi routers on the flipside, are usually so small they can be easily hidden away if you want them out of sight.

Bridge- Overview

Broadly working on a single broadcast domain, bridges come in three types. Depending on your needs, you can either go for a simple bridge that acts as a connection between two segments. Multiport bridges on the other hand, are used where there are more than two LANs. Finally, there are transparent bridges that create their own station addresses tables as well as other bridging functions.

Here is a look at bridges that have a lot going on for them.

Ubiquiti Loco M5 Bridge Kit

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Sold already configured, the Ubiquiti LocoM5 by Ubiquiti Networks is a premium quality bridge option. While the setting up process for bridges can be quite technical for some, the Loco M5 comes ready to install. It comes as 2 units entailing an indoor and outdoor CPE airmax. Together, you can be assured of a stable internet connection with wide range. In fact, the LocoM5 can deliver up to 10km range performance.

To add, the Ubiquiti LocoM5 comes with other quality options like its software- AirOS. This bridge also does not compromise on its looks. It has a rather sleek and modern design with the dimensions of 11.3 x 8.4 x 3.6 inches and 2.01lbs weight. It also has a dual-panel antenna

The only downer with bridges is that the setup process is usually a tad complicated. The Ubiquiti Loco M5 bridge, for example, comes already pre-configured which would mean the installation process is easy. Nonetheless, you do need to be quite tech-savvy to have such bridges running the way you want it. Other bridges are out rightly complicated to understand and use.

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Wemo Bridge

WeMo F7C074 Bridge - Works with Apple HomeKit
  • Wemo Bridge allows you to control Wemo devices by asking Siri or using the Apple Home app from your...
  • Set a custom scene or group your Wemo devices by room so that you can easily control multiple devices at...

Compatible with the Apple HomeKit, Wemo is a bridge device that works with both Wemo dimmer, smart plug and light switch. It comes with many noteworthy features like the Apple Home app that comes with added benefits. For instance, you can easily manage your device using this app like setting automatic schedules.

Wemo also comes in a sleek and compact (7.2oz) design that easily blends in with wherever you place it in your home or office. It also comes in all white making it a seamless fit with right about any home décor. Once you go for this bridge, all you need to do is add it to your existing home network for connection. The only downer with this router is that users have had some issues with the customer support.

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EnGeniusEnJet Bridge Kit

EnGenius Technologies ENH500v3 Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 Outdoor AC867 5GHz Plug-n-Play Wireless Bridge, PTP/PTMP, IP55, 27dBm, 16 dBi High-Gain Antenna, Long Range up to 5 Miles, Gigabit Port [2-Pack]
  • [Wi-Fi 5 Device] Capable of speeds up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz, 3x faster than N300 bridges
  • [No Trenching] Simulate ethernet connections without the need of excessive cabling

Sold as a 2-pack, EnGenius is a wireless bridge that offers long range and reliable speeds. It is designed with the Wi-Fi 5 standard and high-gain antennas that boost its overall performance. Its 5GHz band can deliver up to 867Mbps. To add, it has the latest Wi-Fi technology like Beamforming that optimizes the kind of signal reception you get with this bridge.

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Routers- Overview

Routers come in a variety of designs and sizes. Eero routers, for example, are mesh networking systems that come in sleek and compact sizes. They also primarily come in white making them an easy blend with wherever you place it. Others like Netgear Nighthawk and Asus have rather imposing designs that are quite bulky and futuristic.

Routers also often come with additional accessories that make them well worth the investment. Asus AC2900 for example works well the Asus app. Once you download this app, the installation process is a breeze as well as a whole bunch of other functions like parental control and customization. Eero routers also have the Eero mobile app that you can use to remotely monitor and manage your network.

Asus AC2900 Dual-Band Router

ASUS AC2900 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC86U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS
  • Dual-band (2. 4 + 5 GHz) AC2900 wireless router with the latest 802. 11AC MU-MIMO technology for data...
  • 1. 8GHz 32bit dual-core processor optimizes network traffic and connectivity speeds from the USB 3. 1...

With a 1.8GHz dual-core processor, Asus AC2900 is one the well-reviewed routers in the market. It is a whole home mesh system meaning it can replace the need of the traditional single router system. Its 2.4GHz band and 5GHz can deliver on combined speeds of up to 2900Mbps. Coupled with fast internet speeds like 350Mbps, the Asus AC2900 is a good fit for resource intensive tasks like online gaming and HD/8K streaming.

Asus AC2900 also comes with other notable features like its security set-up. It is secured using AiProtection which is powered by Trend Micro for ample protection against all kinds of cyber threats. Asus AC2900 also works with Amazon’s Alexa for remote management of your network using voice controls.

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Netgear Nighthawk R6700

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router, R6700 - AC1750 Wireless Speed Up to 1750 Mbps | Up to 1500 Sq Ft Coverage & 25 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 3.0 USB Ports | Armor Security
  • Recommended for up to 25 devices: Reliably stream videos, play games, surf the internet, and connect...
  • Wired Ethernet ports: Plug in computers, game consoles, streaming players, and other nearby wired devices...

This Netgear Nighthawk router is a smart device that can deliver up to 1750Mbps on its bands. Beyond this fast wireless speeds, the 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 3.0 USB ports ensure fast wired connections as well. Netgear Nighthawk R67000 also offers up to 1,500 square feet coverage and can handle 25 devices simultaneously connected to it. It also comes beefed up with Armor Security that offers protection for your network and all personal data. Amazon’s Alexa also makes managing of your network easy using voice controls.

Other advanced technology features include its Smart Connect, Beamforming plus and Dynamic QoS software.

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TP-Link N450

TP-Link N450 WiFi Router - Wireless Internet Router for Home (TL-WR940N)
  • Wireless N speed up to 450Mbps, ideal for bandwidth-intensive tasks like HD video streaming, VoIP, and...
  • 802.11n technology, 15x faster with 5x the range of 802. 11g, Three antennas for increased coverage and...

Yet another well-known router brand is TP-Link. It is renowned for its good quality features, reliable performance and reasonable prices. TP-Link N450 for example, is designed with 802.11n technology that makes it even faster compared to other router. It offers wireless speeds of up to 450Mbps which is ideal for tasks like web surfing and video streaming. The N450 also comes with additional accessories like parental control options and a 2-year warranty which is quite impressive compared to other router brands.

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Now let’s compare these two Bridge and Router models.

Model
Bridge
Netgear Nighthawk R6700 Router
Chipset
Dual-polarity
1GHz dual-core processor

Tri-band technology

Coverage
10km
1,500 square feet
Dimensions
11.3 x 8.4 x 3.6 inches
3.3 x 6.8 x 9.7 inches
Accessories
AirMax CPE
Beamforming plus, Dynamic QoS, Smart Connect, Parental Control Options
 

 

Conclusion

While Bridges and Routers are widely different, you can settle on a premium quality router that can meet all your needs. However, if you want to connect multiple area networks, you can comfortably do that with a bridge device. Routers come in to offer stable and reliable Wi-Fi signals between all connected devices.

FAQ’s

  1. What are the security features in bridges and routers?

Bridges do not come with an in-built security system. Routers on the other hand, usually come with ramped up security features like the Trend Micro in ASUS.

  1. Can you use both devices in one set-up?

Yes. While it might be overkill in certain environments, you can still use a bridge and router for enhanced performances.

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