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I'm looking at linking two networks with a long range Ethernet bridge. I know I can connect my two networks with a router, but my problem is how will my computers know where to send packets if I don't add the route manually? I COULD add them manually, but it seems like a hassle. I have very very limited knowledge of RIP (I know it has something to do with routing), but I don't know how to use it.

edit: My vision for the network would be the 2 networks (which are currently independent home networks), connected by a microwave Ethernet link. I assumed i'd need a router on one end of the bridge, to handle communication between the 2 networks.

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If you're bridging the networks then routing shouldn't be required. Can you clarify your intention with these two networks? –  joeqwerty Dec 16 '12 at 4:38

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I'm looking at linking two networks with a long range Ethernet bridge.

An ethernet bridge is not a router. An ethernet bridge is layer 2, and if that is in place there will be no need for a router as all layer 2 traffic will be passed back and forth across the bridge. Consider the latency between the two networks before choosing a Layer 2 bridge. You'll want very low millisecond latency for this to work well.

I know I can connect my two networks with a router, but my problem is how will my computers know where to send packets if I don't add the route manually?

If you do indeed have two routers (layer 3, i.e. you're dealing with IP addresses and subnets), then you don't need to deal with RIP, but can set static routes on each router. One router knows about the other and vice versa. Each node on each router's subnet simply looks to its router as the default gateway and the router decides which traffic goes to the other subnet, and which traffic goes out to the larger internet.

I COULD add them manually, but it seems like a hassle.

It isn't. It's literally seconds of typing in each router to create the static route that you will never have to change again unless you change subnet information.

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i knew that the bridge is not a router. are you saying that the packets can be routed via the default gateway, and that gateway will know where to forward the packets? –  Robbie Mckennie Dec 16 '12 at 4:40
    
@RobbieMckennie Packets will be routed via the default gateway, if the default gateway knows and has a connection to the other router. If it's a bridge, then no routing is performed as it's all the same layer 2 (think: MAC addresses) collision domain. –  Wesley Dec 16 '12 at 4:42
    
@RobbieMckennie - I think you're misunderstanding things a bit. If you're bridging these two networks together then no routing between the two will take place. They are in essence the same layer 3 network if they're bridged together. Can you clarify what it is you intend to do, bridge or route? –  joeqwerty Dec 16 '12 at 4:44
    
both networks have a dhcp server, i didn't think i could interface them directly over layer 2 without causing some kind of tear in the fabric of space-time. –  Robbie Mckennie Dec 16 '12 at 4:45
    
@RobbieMckennie If both networks can be changed to share the same subnet, then it's theoretically possible, but likely not the best decision. i mean adding them to each computer i want to be able to use the route No, no, nononono don't do that. Your computers merely need to know the default gateway of the network like they already do. However, the default gateway needs to have a static route placed in its routing table to know how to get to the other private subnet that we're discussing. Then no changes to clients need to take place and it's just a few seconds of router configuration total. –  Wesley Dec 16 '12 at 4:48

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