What is a WiFi Bridge and What Can You Do With It?Gadgets & Gizmos
Connecting things to the Internet can be tricky, especially if you don’t know how to get various devices with no WiFi capability to connect. A WiFi bridge is one device that can help, but it’s not right for everything.
What is a WiFi Bridge?
A WiFi bridge is a small box that receives WiFi using a WiFi antenna. Usually it has four or more ports, which you can use to connect Ethernet cables, so that you can connect your devices which do not have a WiFi antenna of their own. This is useful if you want a non-proprietory way to connect multiple devices to WiFi, but don’t want to spend the money on multiple WiFi adapters. Essentially, it creates an Ethernet access point for WiFi.
What’s the Difference Between a WiFi Bridge and a Router?
A WiFi Bridge receives WiFi while a router broadcasts it. Both look about the same and both have Ethernet ports and a WiFi antenna, but they serve the opposite functions. However, because they contain the same hardware, only different software, you can change the functions by installing router software on a bridge, or by using a program like DD-WRT on a router to turn it into a bridge.
What’s the Difference Between a WiFi Bridge and a Wifi Adaptor?
A WiFi Adapter is a device with a single port, and usually plugs in via USB or other similar plug, rather than through the Ethernet port. While previously, WiFi adaptors could be quite expensive, they aren’t always anymore. With a variety of low-prices options on the market, they may be a better option, especially if you only have one device that you want, or you need the device to be mobile and wireless. A TP-Link WiFi adapter only costs around $10 on Amazon, and allows you to plug in to get WiFi with any USB equipped device.
What Can You Do With a WiFi Bridge?
A WiFi Bridge is made for allowing you to access your network, but depending on the bridge, you might be able to use it for several different things.
Extend Your Network – Some WiFi bridges or repeaters/extenders actually re-broadcast your WiFi signal so that it is stronger. This is ideal for larger homes, or homes with Netflix or Internet game devices upstairs. You can also use them to extend your WiFi outside, into a basement, or in any other area where your signal is less than how you want it to be. The only important thing is that you buy a repeater, that you position it somewhere where it will broadcast to the area you want, and that you connect everything properly.
Home Automation – Most devices like light bulbs and lamps don’t access the Internet, but with a WiFi bridge, you can connect them, so that you can control your lights, coffee pot, dishwasher, washing machine, or thermostat via WiFi. While you will need a bit more in terms of technology than just a bridge, you do need one to get started.
Connect Random Devices to the Internet – If you have an Xbox, a Playstation, a Wii U, and a Steam game console all stacked up under your TV you probably have too much disposable income, but you probably also have a problem with connecting them to the Internet. A WiFi bridge allows you to easily connect all of them to the bridge, and then connect the bridge to WiFI, so that you can connect all of them without running any cables.
A WiFi bridge is extremely useful for a variety of everyday and not so everyday tasks, but keep in mind that different bridges are made for performing different functions.