Brouters (Bridge/Routers)

Brouters are protocol dependant devices. When a brouter receives a frame to be forwarded to the remote segment, it checks to see if it recognizes the Network layer protocol. If the Brouter does, it acts like a router and finds the shortest path. If it doesn't recognize the Network layer protocol, it acts like a bridge and forwards the frame to the next segment.

The key advantage to Brouters is the ability to act as both a bridge and a router. It can replace separate bridges and routers, saving money. This is, of course, provided that the Brouter can accomplish both functions satisfactorily.

The cost of equipment has dropped dramatically and we see less and less of devices like bridges and brouters. Layer 2 switches have replaced bridges and layer 3 switches have replaced routers and brouters. Probably, you might not ever see a brouter but if you do, you now know how it works.

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Copyright July 2013 Eugene Blanchard