Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book


Bridges are networking devices that connect networks. Sometimes it is necessary to divide networks into subnets to reduce the amount of traffic on each larger subnet or for security reasons. Once divided, the bridge connects the two subnets and manages the traffic flow between them. Today, network switches have largely replaced bridges.

A bridge functions by blocking or forwarding data, based on the destination MAC address written into each frame of data. If the bridge believes the destination address is on a network other than that from which the data was received, it can forward the data to the other networks to which it is connected. If the address is not on the other side of the bridge, the data is blocked from passing. Bridges "learn" the MAC addresses of devices on connected networks by "listening" to network traffic and recording the network from which the traffic originates. Figure 3.9 shows a representation of a bridge.

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9 How a bridge works.

The advantages of bridges are simple and significant. By preventing unnecessary traffic from crossing onto other network segments, a bridge can dramatically reduce the amount of network traffic on a segment. Bridges also make it possible to isolate a busy network from a not-so-busy one, thereby preventing pollution from busy nodes.

Bridge Implementation Considerations

Although implementing bridges can offer huge improvements in performance, you must factor in a number of considerations. The first is bridge placement. Generally, you should follow the 80/20 rule for bridge placement: 80% of the traffic should not cross the bridge, and 20% of the traffic should be on the other side of the bridge. The rule is easy to understand, but accurately determining the correct location for the bridge to accommodate the rule is another matter.

Another, potentially more serious, consideration is bridging loops, which can be created when more than one bridge is used on a network. Multiple bridges can provide fault tolerance or improve performance. Bridging loops occur when multiple bridges become confused about where devices are on the network.

As an example of bridging loops, imagine that you have a network with two bridges, as depicted in Figure 3.10. During the learning process, the north bridge receives a packet from Interface A (step 1 in Figure 3.11) and determines that it is for a system that is not on Network Z; therefore, the bridge forwards the packet to Network X (step 2 in Figure 3.11). Now, the south bridge sees a packet originating on Network X on Interface C (step 3 in Figure 3.11); because it thinks the destination system is not on Network X, it forwards the packet to Network Z (step 4 in Figure 3.11), where the north bridge picks it up (step 5 in Figure 3.11). The north bridge determines that the destination system is not on Network Z, so it forwards the packet to Network X—and the whole process begins again.

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10 A network with two bridges.

Figure 3.11

Figure 3.11 A bridging loop.

You can work around the looping problem by using the Spanning Tree Algorithm (STA). When STA is used, each interface on a bridge is assigned a value. As the bridge forwards the data, the value is attached to the packet. When another bridge sees the data, if the STA value for the interface is higher than that assigned to its interfaces, the bridge doesn’t forward the data, thus eliminating the possibility of a bridging loop. STA eliminates the bridging loop but still provides the fault tolerance of having more than one bridge in place. If the bridge with the higher STA value (sometimes referred to as the primary bridge) fails, the other bridge continues functioning because it becomes the bridge with the higher STA value. All this is achieved by the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP).

Types of Bridges

Three types of bridges are used in networks. You don’t need detailed knowledge of how each bridge works, but you should have an overview:

  • Transparent bridge—A transparent bridge is invisible to the other devices on the network. Transparent bridges perform only the function of blocking or forwarding data based on the MAC address; the devices on the network are oblivious to these bridges’ existence. Transparent bridges are by far the most popular types of bridges.

  • Translational bridge—A translational bridge can convert from one networking system to another. As you might have guessed, it translates the data it receives. Translational bridges are useful for connecting two different networks, such as Ethernet and Token Ring networks. Depending on the direction of travel, a translational bridge can add or remove information and fields from the frame as needed.

  • Source-route bridge—Source-route bridges were designed by IBM for use on Token Ring networks. The source-route bridge derives its name from the fact that the entire route of the frame is embedded within the frame. This allows the bridge to make specific decisions about how the frame should be forwarded through the network. The diminishing popularity of Token Ring makes the chances that you’ll work with a source-route bridge very slim.

As switches become ever cheaper, bridges have been overtaken by switches in terms of both functionality and performance. Expect to be working with switches more often than with bridges.

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020