A wireless bridge is a device used to join two physically separated wired networks. Generally one uses two wireless bridge devices, one on each side of the bridge, each connected to a separate wired network.
It is uncommon to find a device that can only operate as a wireless bridge. In most cases, one finds devices that can operate as wireless access points, wireless repeaters or wireless bridges. The ZyXEL WAP3205 is one good example of one such multi-functional device. Some manufacturers, however, sell devices that can only function as bridges. Often such devices will have more straightforward setup procedures. One such dedicated bridge is the Cisco-Linksys WET610N Wireless-N Bridge.
A wireless bridge is used for a home or workplace with at least two independent LANs that need to be connected. Often the LANs can be far enough apart that an ethernet cable installation is inconvenient, but still within the latest WiFi range extender for 2017 of each other. In such cases, a wireless bridge device connected to each LAN can bridge the gap and join the LANs together. In some cases though, for example, if all the devices in one LAN have wireless capability, a wireless repeater may be an easier solution.
What to look for in a Wireless Bridge
The most important features to keep in mind when looking to buy a wireless bridge are compatibility, range, and ease of setup:
Compatibility: The cutting edge in high-speed wireless connection is Wireless-N. Wireless-N has the capacity needed to support the heavy bandwidth use that modern digital technology is beginning to demand. It also boasts extended range compared to older standards. While it is important to obtain devices with Wireless-N support, providing for backward compatibility is also crucial since not all computers and devices are compatible with the Wireless-N technology. A wireless device with b/g/n compatibility is a good investment, helping to avoid compatibility issues at present while being prepared for the gradual shift towards Wireless-N. If using two wireless bridges, having both use Wireless-N will ensure that your bridged network runs as smoothly as possible.
Range: It is important to obtain devices with enough range to bridge the gap between the isolated LANs. Most current devices that can be used as a bridge have high ranges with multiple antennae – but it is always a good idea to look at some reviews to get a better idea of the range.
Setup: The ease of setup will depend on the type of device: a dedicated wireless bridge is likely to be easier to setup than a general-purpose wireless device.