Windows provides the ability to connect or interconnect two different types of networks using software. This can eliminate the need to purchase a hardware device to connect two dissimilar networks. This has been part of Windows since XP and still works great on Windows 10.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have two networks: in one computers are connected by cables; in another, computers are connected using wireless technology.
Wired computers can communicate only with other wired computers, and wireless computers can only communicate with other wireless computers. Using a network bridge, all computers can communicate with each other.
Note that you need to physically have more than one network adapter on your computer in order to actually create a network bridge. Also, when you create a network bridge, the primary network adapter loses its internet connection unless you set it to a static IP address.
Bridge network connections
To bridge connections, go to Control Panel and click Network and Sharing Center. In this window, click “Change adapter settings”:
Select the adapters you want to connect, right click and select Bridge Connections:
This is it! The two separate networks should now appear as one network. It’s also useful when you don’t have enough ports on your router and you can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network.
Please note that for security reasons, you should not create a bridge between your Internet connection and your LAN connection, because it creates an insecure connection between your network and the Internet, making your LAN available to everyone on the Internet.
People with home or small office networks usually use a bridge when they have different types of networks but want to exchange information or share files with all computers on those networks. The easiest way to do this without having to buy hardware is to use the network bridge feature in Windows.
Network Bridge and Internet Connection Sharing are similar but don’t work the same. If you’d like to learn more, check out this Microsoft article for more details on the features. Enjoy!