What is Bridge Mode? How to Enable it in Router
By Nick Anderson 4 minutes
Connecting more than two routers allows you to extend an existing internet connection over a greater area. You may have one internet connection but multiple floors or rooms in the house that you need to cover. Whether you intend to connect the devices wirelessly or through a LAN cable, bridge mode on the router connects two or more routers without configuring each. As you continue reading about what is bridge mode and why it might be an advantage for you, we’ll explain how to enable bridge mode on the router.
What is Bridge Mode?
Bridge Mode lets two routers share the same network so that the secondary router(s) serves as an extension of the primary router.
One wireless router may not be sufficient to cover the entire home or office space. Multiple routers serve as a solution to that problem. Modern routers require minimal configurations to get them up and running. So what bridge mode allows is to make the new router an extension of the existing router, disabling NAT (Network Address Translation) on this new one so there is no conflict.
Without bridge mode, the second router will still receive internet connectivity, but it will manage devices connected to it strictly on its own. It means that if you have allowed ports in the second router, it will not extend to the primary router. The feature enabled will allow you to configure the ports in only one router.
A Brief Overview of NAT
Network Address Translation (NAT) is an important part of a router. The router assigns every connected device a unique IP address. But this “Private IP address” is different from the “Public IP address” that your ISP uses to connect to the internet. Due to the finite number of IP addresses that can be uniquely generated, local networks use private IP addresses that do not affect the availability of public IP addresses.
One public IP address represents multiple private IP addresses on the internet. To handle this many-to-one type of communication, NAT was invented. It keeps records of every request devices make to the internet in the NAT table and delivers them to the correct device on the router. Without NAT, the router would not know where to deliver the external traffic.
Advantages of Bridge Mode
The immediate advantage of bridge mode is that secondary routers do not operate their own NAT table. They serve as an extension of the primary router, which prevents a NAT conflict known as Double NAT. Bridge mode is useful for connecting routers in a Mesh network.
Preventing Double NAT is important if you want to access IoT devices such as security cameras remotely. If the IoT device is behind another NAT, the router will not know where to look because the device is behind another private network. The primary router will provide the DHCP (Domain Host Configuration Protocol) function for all connected devices, including those connected to the secondary router. It makes managing devices much easier. For example, if you want to control bandwidth or assign IP addresses to a device, it can all be managed through the primary router.
Bridge mode also extends support for Gigabit speeds if the secondary router does not support it.
You can buy Wi-Fi router solutions like Google Nest to cover every area in your home. Such routers are designed to work as a Mesh network and require little effort to get up and running.
How to Enable Bridge Mode in Router
Connect the first router with the internet connection in your home. This will be the primary router and other routers will act as secondary routers that can be used to increase the range of the Wi-Fi.
Interfaces differ between router manufacturers; thus navigation is also different. But we’ll give you a general direction of what you need to do to set up bridge mode in the router.
- Open your router’s admin panel. Check the router’s back for the default gateway and the credentials for the admin panel.
- Look for the option for bridge mode. Enable it.
- Connect the second router wirelessly to the primary router’s access point.
- Disable the DHCP server if it’s enabled.
The second router will now act as an extension of the first router.
Features such as bridge mode provide convenience and offer easier control over connected devices. In the age of IoT devices, it may be helpful when it comes to accessing devices through the internet remotely. But while such features provide convenience, they are not always recommended. UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) is one example that adds convenience but at the cost of security. You can read more in our blog post.