What is Bridging Mode in Wi-Fi Networking?

A. In Wi-Fi networking, bridging mode allows two or more wireless access points (APs) to communicate with each for the purpose of joining multiple LANs.

Many Wi-Fi bridging mode products exist with varying levels of functionality.

Some wireless bridges support only a single point-to-point connection to another AP. Others support point-to-multipoint connections to several other APs.

Each AP in bridging mode connects to a wired LAN. Some AP models simultaneously support wireless clients while operating in bridging mode, but others work as "bridge-only" and disallow any clients from connecting. Some APs only support bridging with other APs from the same manufacturer or product family.

AP bridging capability (when it is available) can be enabled or disabled through a configuration option.

Normally, APs in bridging mode discover each other via Media Access Control (MAC) addresses that must be set as configuration parameters.

While operating in bridging mode, wireless APs utilize a substantial amount of bandwidth. Wireless clients on bridged Wi-Fi networks generally share the same bandwidth as the bridge devices. Therefore, clients tend to perform slower in bridging mode than otherwise.

In Wi-Fi, repeater mode is a variation on bridging. Rather than join multiple LANs, repeater mode is intended mainly to increase the range of a single wireless LAN by extending the same wireless signal.

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