What Is Bridge Mode On A Router?

What Is Bridge Mode On A Router

In the world of networking, bridge mode is a term that often comes up when discussing routers and their capabilities.

But what exactly is bridge mode and how does it work?

In this article, we will demystify bridge mode on a router, explaining its basics, advantages, and how to set it up.

Understanding The Basics Of Router Bridge Mode

Bridge mode is a network configuration that allows a router to function as a transparent bridge between two networks.

In this mode, the router acts as a simple pass-through device, forwarding all network traffic between the connected networks without performing any routing or firewall functions.

By default, routers typically operate in “router mode” or “gateway mode”, where they assign IP addresses, manage data traffic between the LAN and WAN, and provide firewall protection.

In “bridge mode”, the router becomes an extension of the existing network, not assigning IP addresses or managing traffic.

Instead, it facilitates data flow between networks, making it beneficial when connecting multiple routers or different network types.

One important aspect of bridge mode is that it disables the DHCP server functionality on the router.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is responsible for automatically assigning IP addresses to devices on a network.

In bridge mode, since the router is not performing any IP address assignments, it relies on another device on the network to handle DHCP requests.

Another key feature of bridge mode is that it disables NAT (Network Address Translation) functionality.

NAT allows multiple devices on a local network to share a single public IP address provided by your internet service provider (ISP).

It achieves this by assigning private IP addresses to devices on the local network and translating them to the public IP address when communicating with devices on the internet.

In bridge mode, since the router is not performing any address translation, each device connected to it will require a unique public IP address.

Disabling DHCP Server and NAT Functionality

Disabling the DHCP server and NAT (Network Address Translation) functionality on a router is an essential step when setting up bridge mode.

By disabling these features, you can ensure that your network operates smoothly and efficiently.

Disabling DHCP Server

The first step in configuring bridge mode is to disable the DHCP server on your router. The DHCP server is responsible for assigning IP addresses to devices connected to the network.

However, in bridge mode, this function is unnecessary as the primary router will handle IP address assignments.

To disable the DHCP server on your router, follow these steps:

  1. Access your router’s administration interface by typing its IP address into a web browser.
  2. Enter your username and password to log in.
  3. Navigate to the network settings or LAN settings section of the administration interface.
  4. Locate the DHCP server option and toggle it off or select “Disable”.
  5. Save your changes and restart your router if prompted.

By disabling the DHCP server, you prevent any conflicts that may arise from having multiple devices assigning IP addresses within the same network. This ensures a smoother operation when using bridge mode.

Disabling NAT Functionality

NAT (Network Address Translation) is another feature that needs to be disabled when configuring bridge mode.

NAT allows multiple devices within a private network to share a single public IP address provided by your internet service provider (ISP).

However, in bridge mode, this functionality is not required as each device connected to the network will have its own public IP address.

To disable NAT functionality on your router, follow these steps:

  1. Access your router’s administration interface as mentioned earlier.
  2. Navigate to the advanced settings or WAN settings section of the administration interface.
  3. Look for NAT options such as “NAT Mode” or “NAT Filtering”.
  4. Disable NAT by selecting “Bridge Mode” or “Disable” depending on your router’s interface.
  5. Save your changes and restart your router if necessary.

Disabling NAT ensures that each device connected to the network has its own unique public IP address. This allows for more efficient communication between devices and improves overall network performance.

By following these steps to disable the DHCP server and NAT functionality on your router, you can successfully configure bridge mode.

Advantages of Using Bridge Mode

Router Bridge Mode

Improved Network Performance

One of the primary advantages of using bridge mode on a router is the improved network performance it provides.

In bridge mode, the router acts as a transparent bridge, allowing all network traffic to pass through without any interference or processing.

This eliminates the need for the router to perform tasks such as Network Address Translation (NAT) and packet filtering, which can introduce latency and decrease overall network speeds.

In bridge mode, devices connected to the router have direct access to the main network, resulting in faster data transfer rates and reduced lag.

This is particularly beneficial for bandwidth-intensive activities such as online gaming, video streaming, and large file transfers.

With bridge mode enabled, you can fully utilize your available internet speed without any bottlenecks caused by unnecessary processing by the router.

Bridge mode offers seamless integration with current network infrastructure. In this mode, the router acts as a transparent link, letting devices from various subnets or VLANs communicate effortlessly.

Setting Up Bridge Mode on a Router

Accessing Router Settings

Before you can enable bridge mode on your router, you need to access its settings. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your computer or device to the router using an Ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi.
  2. Open a web browser (such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) and enter the default IP address of your router in the address bar. The default IP address is typically mentioned in the user manual or can be found on the manufacturer’s website.
  3. Press Enter to access the login page of your router’s settings.

You will now be prompted to enter your username and password. If you haven’t changed these credentials before, try using the default ones provided by the manufacturer. Once logged in, you will have access to the router’s settings page.

Enabling Bridge Mode

Now that you have accessed the router’s settings page, it’s time to enable bridge mode. Follow these steps:

  1. Look for an option called “Network” or “Advanced Settings” in the menu bar of your router’s settings page.
  2. Click on this option to expand it and reveal additional settings.
  3. Within this expanded menu, look for an option related to “Bridge Mode” or “AP Mode.” This option may vary depending on your specific router model.
  4. Enable bridge mode by selecting this option.

Once you have enabled bridge mode, click on “Save” or “Apply” to save the changes made to your router’s settings.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can Bridge Mode Cause Network Problems?

Yes, while bridge mode streamlines configurations, it can introduce issues if misconfigured. For instance, having DHCP enabled on both routers can cause IP conflicts.

Also, a router not inherently designed for bridge mode might face connectivity issues.

Why Might Bridge Mode Be Considered Unsafe?

Bridge mode turns the router into a passive conduit, bypassing security features like firewalls. This can expose networks to threats.

Misconfigurations can also lead to perceived unreliability. Proper setup is crucial to maintain network integrity.

Why Can’t My Router Connect After Switching to Bridge Mode?

In bridge mode, a router acts as a pass-through, not actively managing internet connections. If you replace your modem with a bridged router, ensure another device retains routing capabilities and is set up correctly.

Can I Use Ethernet Ports After Enabling Bridge Mode?

Typically, yes. Ethernet ports usually remain functional in bridge mode, but behavior can vary by device.

Why Is There Wi-Fi Activity on My Bridged Fiber Router?

Some routers might still broadcast Wi-Fi even in bridge mode. Check settings to ensure Wi-Fi functionalities are turned off if not desired.


In conclusion, understanding and implementing bridge mode on a router can greatly enhance network performance and connectivity.

By disabling the DHCP server and NAT functionality, users can have more control over their network settings and avoid conflicts with other devices.

Bridge mode allows for seamless integration of multiple routers or access points, creating a unified network that eliminates dead zones and provides consistent coverage throughout the entire space.

The advantages of using bridge mode are particularly beneficial for larger homes or office spaces where a single router may not provide adequate coverage.

Additionally, bridge mode is an excellent solution for network administrators who need to extend their network without compromising security or adding unnecessary complexity.

Daniele Besana

Daniele Besana

Daniele is a freelancer consultant with 15 years of experience in network security, customer support, Linux and Salsa. He worked for Juniper Networks in Netherlands, providing support and consultancy on security projects across Europe and Middle-East.

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