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A virtual LAN (VLAN) is any broadcast domain in a computer network that is partitioned and isolated at the data link layer (OSI layer 2). Even if the hosts are not directly connected to the same network switch, network managers can use VLANs to group them together.

Virtual Local Area Networks or VLANs are a great way to create separate, private networks for your business. They offer benefits like:

  • Security: With a VLAN, you can create a closed network and grant access only to the people and devices that need it. This means that your data will be protected from unauthorized entry because of its encrypted format.
  • Management: VLANs allow you to segment your network into smaller networks which could be assigned different priorities and bandwidth allocation. So if there is an issue in one segment, traffic can be redirected to another segment so that there is no downtime on the network.

Each VLAN (virtual local area network) is just a number allocated to each switch port. The two switch ports in the red mini-switch, for example, could be assigned to VLAN #10. VLAN #20 might be allocated to the two ports on the orange mini-switch.

  • The first type is a broadcast domain. Associating a host with a VLAN makes it part of this broadcast domain.
  • The second type is 802.1Q which allows for trunks and access ports. Trunks help to aggregate traffic from multiple access ports and provide more bandwidth. Access ports provide better isolation as traffic flows only in one direction (inbound or outbound).
  • The third type of VoIP connection is an Ethernet over IP (EoIP) which can be used to support Ethernet services over an IP network, such as Ethernet services over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

A Switch Virtual Interface (often referred to as an SVI) is a VLAN's IP address; in essence, it is an interface (albeit logical) that serves the same purpose as a router's interface, which has an IP address. It acts as an inter-VLAN or inter-routing traffic gateway.

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