More Advanced Single-Function Devices

Wireless Ethernet Bridges: Wireless Ethernet Bridges, operating in pairs or in conjunction with a Wireless Access Point, can interconnect two separate Ethernet LAN segments.
Wireless Ethernet Bridge

For example, suppose a DSL Internet connection enters a home office equipped with an appropriate router and Ethernet Switch, where a printer and three separate computers reside:


Computer equipment in small office
Suppose that a distant bedroom at the opposite end of the same house has 2 more computers and another printer, all plugged into a separate Ethernet Switch.





Computer equipment in small bedroom

We would say that this home has 2 separate Ethernet LAN segments. The 2 computers in the bedroom could both use the bedroom computer, but they couldn't use the office printer, or share its Internet connection.







It is possible to string a long Ethernet cable between the office Ethernet Switch and the bedroom Ethernet Switch, but usually it is more convenient to do this without wires.


Long ethernet cable bridging segments

By installing a Wireless Access Point  in the office and a Wireless Ethernet Bridge in the bedroom, both LAN segments are joined.
2 Network Segments WiFi Bridged

Once the bedroom's Wireless Ethernet bridge and the office's Access Point are configured to communicate with one another, all 5 of the computers and both printers can be given IP addresses from the same subnet and shared, along with the Internet connection. Because modern console gaming hardware like "X-Box" and "Playstation" generally contain wired Ethernet connectors without any provision for WiFi, it is commonplace to use them with a Wireless Ethernet Bridge. This functionality is sometimes marketed as a "Wireless Game Adapter". Some Wireless Game Adapters are specifically "crippled" with technology that prevents their general-purpose use by PCs and other Ethernet devices, but most are fully compatible and can bridge Ethernet LAN segments for use by any kind of Ethernet equipment, in spite of their game-oriented names.

Wireless Print Server Wireless Print Servers: A Wireless Print Server allows you to share and access your printer without wires. The most basic Wireless Print Server would have a single USB or Parallel Printer port for connection with a single, nearby printer, and a radio transceiver with antenna for connection to a WiFi LAN through a nearby Wireless Access Point. It converts the appropriate radio signals into printer commands and data so that the printer can be located at any convenient place within WiFi radio range of the Wireless Access Point. Today's basic Printer Servers understand the IP protocol and are able to receive and interpret IP messages containing printer data so that IP-equipped computers throughout the home or small office can share the printer, even if the printer was not originally designed with WiFi in mind. If the home or small office router is appropriately enhanced with "Port Forwarding", it is even possible for the printer to receive and handle printing instructions from all over the Internet. You can learn a lot more about "Port Forwarding" from the video segment entitled "NAT Routers Part 3: Port Forwarding", which is available in the "Networking Fundamentals" section at AskMisterWizard.com.


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