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What is a VLAN and How Can It Be Useful?

What is a VLAN and How Can It Be Useful?

VLAN is a phrase that you might see used when referring to a network of computers, but what does it mean and in what situations can be it be useful? By finding out how best to configure a VLAN, you can look to increase the security of your network while saving money.


Source: Pixabay

The Basics

This term refers to a virtual local area network. So, it is really just a group of computers, servers or other devices that are linked on the same LAN. The “virtual” aspect refers to the fact that the devices don’t need to be physically in the same location as each other.

There are a few good reasons why companies opt for this kind of approach. For a start, it provides a safe and low-cost way of segmenting a network. It can be used to keep guest users apart from workers and can also limit user access to certain areas and functions.

The cost is kept lower by avoiding the need for expensive upgrades, due to the fact that a VLAN sticks to existing bandwidths. Other benefits include easier network management and a higher degree of scalability.

How to Configure It?

Configuring a VLAN might sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. To do it manually, you need to, first of all, ensure that the hardware you use is compatible with VLAN use. The next step is to enable IP routing and then note the IP addresses that you want to add to the virtual network before completing the configuration process.

The simplest approach is to use a network configuration manager to do this. A good VLAN configuration tool, as shown on the SolarWinds website, provides features that ensure network compliance and automation, together with configuration backup and vulnerability assessment.

Vlan 2

Source: Pxfuel

By managing the network in this way, it is possible to save time and money by cutting out the errors that can be caused by manually configuring. They also provide the benefits of making it simpler to monitor the VLAN and notifying of any potential concerns, leading to an even higher degree of security in the long run.

What Routers Can Support a VLAN?

It is important to point out that not all routers support the use of a VLAN, but many of them do. If we look at a list of some of the most popular routers around, we can see that the likes of the Asus RT-AC87U and the D-Link AC3200 can be used in this way.

Anyone who has an existing router should check that it is compatible with VLAN use first of all. On the other hand, anyone looking to buy a new router should consider adding VLAN support to the list of desirable features, even if it isn’t something that they need just now.

It appears probable that the use of VLAN networks grow in the future, as more companies and individual users discover the benefits of using this sort of approach and see how easy it now is to set up.

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Edited by Calliers

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