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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.
A network segment is a data link layer and physical network that is shared by one or more attached nodes. Ethernet and token ring are shared data link layer networks. One segment may be attached to another segment with a bridge to form an extended broadcast domain; but the bridge filters traffic and, in the case of Ethernet, keeps collisions contained within each segment.
Put another way, a very large network may be divided (segmented) with a bridge in order to improve performance and cut down on collisions. If the network is divided equally, only half of the computers are contending for access to the shared network on each segment, but can still send messages across the bridge to other nodes. See "Collisions and Collision Domains."
Further subdivision with bridges is possible, but multiport switches are now the preferred method for segmenting a network. A multiport switch is actually a bridge with multiple ports. Microsegmentation refers to the process of segmenting a network down to the point where one computer is attached to each port and there is no contention or collisions. The switch automatically connects any port with any other port.
Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.