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Difference Between VLAN and LAN


VLAN and LAN are two terms used frequently in the networking field. “LAN” is abbreviated as “Local Area Network” is a computer network to which a large number of computers and other peripheral devices are connected within a geographical area. VLAN is an implementation of a private subset of a LAN in which the computers interact with each other as if they are connected to the same broadcast domain irrespective of their physical locations.

The attributes of both LAN and VLAN are the same; however, the end stations are always combined together regardless of the location. The VLAN is used to create multiple broadcast domains in a switch. This can be explained with a simple illustration. Say, for instance, there is one 48-port layer 2 switch. If two separate VLANs are created on ports 1 to 24 and 25 to 48, a single 48-port layer 2 switch can be made to act like two different switches. This is one of the biggest advantages of using VLAN as you don’t have to use two different switches for different networks. Different VLANs can be created for each segment using just one big switch. Suppose in a company users working from different floors of the same building can be connected to the same LAN virtually.

The VLANs can help to minimize traffic when compared to traditional LANs. For instance, if the broadcast traffic is meant for ten users, they can be placed on ten different VLANs which will in turn reduce the traffic. The use of VLANs over traditional LANs can bring down the cost as the VLANs eliminate the need for expensive routers.

In LANs, the routers process the incoming traffic. With the increasing traffic volume, latency gets generated which in turn results in poor performance. With VLANs, the need for routers is reduced as VLANs can create broadcast domains through switches instead of routers.

LANs require physical administration as the location of the user changes, the need for recabling, addressing the new station, reconfiguration of routers and hubs arises. The mobility of the users in a network results in network costs. Whereas if a user is moved within a VLAN, the administrative work can be eliminated as there is no need for router reconfiguration.

Data broadcast on a VLAN is safe when compared to traditional LANs as sensitive data can be accessed only the users who are on a VLAN.


1. VLAN delivers better performance when compared to traditional LANs.

2. VLAN requires less network administration work when compared to LANs.

3. VLAN helps to reduce costs by eliminating the need for expensive routers unlike LANs.

4. Data transmission on VLAN is safe when compared to traditional LANs.

5. VLANs can help reduce traffic as it reduces the latency and creates broadcast domains through switches rather than routers unlike in traditional LANs.

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