Why would you use a VLAN?
Organizations benefit greatly from the advantages of VLAN usage, including increased performance, more flexibility in network configuration and workgroup formation, and reduced administrative efforts.
- VLANs are cost-effective, because workstations on VLANs communicate with one another through VLAN switches and don’t require routers unless they are sending data outside the VLAN. This empowers the VLAN to manage an increased data load because, while switches have fewer capabilities than a router, routers cause bottlenecks. VLANs do not need to forward information through a router to communicate with devices within the network, decreasing overall network latency.
- VLANs offer more flexibility than nonvirtual networking solutions. VLANs can be configured and assigned based on port, protocol, or subnet criteria, making it possible to alter VLANs and change network design when necessary. Furthermore, because VLANs are configured on a basis outside their physical connection to hardware or proximity to other devices, they allow for groups who collaborate—and presumably transfer a great deal of data to one another’s devices—to share a VLAN even if they work on separate floors or in different buildings.
- VLANs decrease the amount of administrative oversight required by network overseers like managed services providers (MSPs). VLANs allow network administrators to automatically limit access to a specified group of users by dividing workstations into different isolated LAN segments. When users move their workstations, administrators don’t need to reconfigure the network or change VLAN groups. These factors decrease the amount of time and energy administrators must devote to configuration and security measures.
What is an example of a VLAN?
Many organizations have a WAN (wide area network) due to their expansive offices and large teams. In these scenarios, having multiple VLANs would greatly expedite network operations. Often, large companies work on cross-functional projects. The ease of configuring VLANs—and redistributing users to VLANs—makes it possible to put even interdepartmental teams on the same VLAN to facilitate a high volume of data sharing. Marketing, sales, IT, and business analysts can work together to achieve high-stakes objectives most efficiently when network segmentation facilitates flexible teamwork.
While VLANs have their own complications, such as VLAN mismatches, MSPs who know how to configure a VLAN properly can leverage their powerful network segmentation benefits to make their clients’ networks faster and more secure while giving them physical flexibility. As all networks evolve over time, MSPs who know how to conduct VLAN maintenance and check device distribution can increase and sustain network performance.
Check out the rest of our blog to learn about other considerations for a Virtual Local Area Network.