A VLAN, or Virtual Local Area Network (virtual LAN), is a networking term used to describe a group of computers that are connected in a logical network. Unlike a physical local area network, which requires the use of cables to connect devices, a VLAN can be created using only switches and routers. This makes it an ideal solution for companies with multiple departments, as it allows them to create separate networks without the need for additional hardware.
VLANs are networks of devices connected to each other and acting as one LAN, but the VLAN is an isolated segment of a larger network. A segment, in a technical sense, is an area of the LAN that is separated from the rest of the network by a switch, router, or bridge and is usually devoted to a single department or class of devices (such as IoT). In this case, packets broadcast by a device reach all the other devices on the VLAN (within the broadcast domain), but not those that are outside of it.
What are the use cases for a VLAN?
Virtual Local Area Networks are commonly used in businesses, but they can also be helpful in home networks. For example, if you have a large family and want to create separate networks for each individual, you could use a VLAN. For IoT devices, it is a good idea to create a VLAN to secure your network by creating a separate network for these devices. In this way, devices could connect to the internet independently, without worrying about interference from another user.
It is also possible to use Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) to create a private network that acts as a separate internet connection. Businesses with many departments operating from the same location will benefit from this feature. In the past, each department of an organization would have purchased its own internet connection from its ISP. With VLANs, they can connect all of their office departments to the same outbound WAN connection and use VLAN’s to segregate the network traffic for each department.