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Understanding VLAN's

Understanding VLAN's

All this talk about VLAN's!  What are they?  How do they work?  Wikipedia's definition ( is:

In computer networking, a single layer-2 network may be partitioned to create multiple distinct broadcast domains, which are mutually isolated so that packets can only pass between them via one or more routers; such a domain is referred to as a virtual local area network, virtual LAN or VLAN.

This is usually achieved on switch or router devices. Simpler devices only support partitioning on a port level (if at all), so sharing VLANs across devices requires running dedicated cabling for each VLAN. More sophisticated devices can mark packets through tagging, so that a single interconnect (trunk) may be used to transport data for multiple VLANs.

Grouping hosts with a common set of requirements regardless of their physical location by VLAN can greatly simplify network design. A VLAN has the same attributes as a physical local area network (LAN), but it allows for end stations to be grouped together more easily even if they are not on the same network switch. VLAN membership can be configured through software instead of physically relocating devices or connections. Most enterprise-level networks today use the concept of virtual LANs. Without VLANs, a switch considers all interfaces on the switch to be in the same broadcast domain.

To physically replicate the functions of a VLAN would require a separate, parallel collection of network cables and equipment separate from the primary network. However, unlike physically separate networks, VLANs share bandwidth, so VLAN trunks may require aggregated links and/or quality of service prioritization.

I've tried to simplify this in this 5-minute how-to video.

We will discuss three different scenarios and walk thru how AREDN nodes and vlan-capable switches process data traffic.

Understanding VLAN's

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