Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN)

What is Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN)

A virtual local area network abbreviated VLAN is a logical subnetwork of devices situated in a broadcast domain. It is segregated by network management software or network switches to serve as a LAN.

Courtesy of VLAN switches, network managers can easily create virtual network segments.

Types of VLANs

Many organizations with complex network systems have adopted VLANs for solutions to scale networks, increase security measures, and get rid of network latency. In such scenarios, VLAN comes in handy by allowing devices and multiple LANs to communicate via wireless internet.

Here are the types of VLANs you may need to know:

1. Static (Port-based) VLAN

This type of virtual LAN has a switch port that can be assigned to a VLAN member manually. The ports are instructed to communicate to designated VLANS and a specific port is attached to a particular VLAN.

Since all the ports are configured using an identical VLAN number, all the devices that connect to this port fall under the same broadcast domain.

The only challenge with this network type is determining the ideal ports for each VLAN. To determine a VLAN membership, you have to look at the setup information rather than a simple inspection of the switch’s physical port.

2. Dynamic (Use-based) VLAN

Network admins or engineers use Dynamic VLANs to disintegrate a network into tiered sectors as per resource authorisation. Then, the users are segmented into these VLANs depending on the resources they have access to.

Unlike Static VLANs, dynamic VLANs do not need an administrator to configure each port one by one. It can be done with a central server known as a VLAN Member Policy Server or VMPS. This VMPS is required to deal with port configuration immediately of every switch associated with the VLAN network.

How Do VLANs Work

VLANs give network managers an easy time to create virtual domains that link devices that communicate frequently with each other. The action reduces congestion and CPU overhead while improving security to the number of devices that can access a particular VLAN.

Most networks are made to handle traffic moving from one VLAN to the next by passing the traffic off to routers. Each device in a VLAN setup is assigned a VLAN ID and linked to a VLAN group using management software.

It implies that devices can fall into any physical LANs connected to a switch but they are segmented into a VLAN group functioning like it was connected to a LAN. In case, a network administrator wants to move a device from one VLAN to the next, they will move it to a new VLAN or different port on a switch through the network management software.

Benefits of VLANs

VLANs offer several benefits to users. The benefits include:

1. Better network performance

VLANs can streamline network performance by segmenting network traffic into smaller logical networks. This way, it reduces the broadcast traffic which in turn improves the overall network performance.

2. Improved network security

By segregating your network traffic, VLANs erect virtual walls, barring unauthorized access to sensitive information or resources.

3. Flexibility

Network administrators can configure VLANs dynamically to adjust network configurations easily when needed.

4. Simplified network management

VLANs also streamline network management, allowing administrators to herd their digital flock with ease. Troubleshooting, configuration, and maintenance – all become a breeze, thanks to the power of these virtualized networks.

5. Scalability

The most impressive feat of VLANs is their ability to scale with your growing digital empire. By segmenting your network into smaller, more manageable clusters, they pave the way for seamless expansion, ensuring your network can rise to the challenge of ever-increasing complexity.

6. Cost saving

By leveraging a single physical network infrastructure to host multiple virtual networks, VLANs help maximize your investment, making the most of your digital resources.