So, all we know so far about switching is that it isn’t shared. In fact, we’re told that each port on a switch has “dedicated bandwidth.” But those are marketing buzzwords. Let’s delve a bit deeper, starting with the progenitor of the switch: the bridge.

Bridges: Old School Versus New School

In the old days, you’d split your collision domain with a bridge when you had too many Ethernet stations on one segment. What does a bridge do? Well, it splits your collision domain (groan). Seriously, a bridge connects two different network segments, and it does so in a way that not all traffic is shared.

Here’s how it works. Take a look at Figure 10.4 and follow along with me. There are two network interfaces on an old-school bridge; call them ...

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