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Using Windows XP for a Software Network Bridge
You may have noticed that when you right click on your network connection under My Network Places you have an option for Bridge Network. What a network bridge does is allow two or more networks to be tied together so that they act like a single network.
For example if you have 3 computers on a LAN connected via Ethernet and then have a wireless laptop with only a wireless connection you could use a bridge to connect all 4 together. You need to make sure that one of the wired computers has a Ethernet port AND a wireless port. The Ethernet port is used to connect to the other 2 wired computers and the wireless port will be used to connect to the wireless laptop.
Once the Ethernet and wireless connections are bridged, all the computers can see each other on the network thanks to the computer with both types of connections that is bridging the connection. The only catch is that the computer doing the bridging must be on for the bridge to stay active.
To “make” the bridge, you would go to the computer with both types of connections and go to My Network Places. Then you would right click one and select Bridge Connections. When its complete you will have a new icon for the new bridge in your connections. You will use this new icon/connection to manage your network properties. Keep in mind you may have to reboot when it’s completed.
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The Differences Between a Hub, Switch and a Router
802.11N Wireless Networking Standard
WEP vs. WPA Wireless Networking