organize network traffic

Easily increase your system speed.

Ethernet LANs were originally designed for small, simple networks that primarily carried text. However, over time, the type of data carried by LANs grew to include voice, graphics, and video. This more complex data, when combined with the ever-increasing speed of transmission, eventually became too much of a load for the original Ethernet LAN design. The IEEE 802.1D-2004 standard helped evolve Ethernet LANs to cope with the higher data and transmission requirements by defining the concept of transparent bridging (generally called simply bridging). Bridging divides a single physical LAN (now called a single broadcast domain) into two or more virtual LANs, or VLANs.

When VLANs are grouped logically by function or organization, a significant percentage of data traffic stays within the VLAN. This relieves the load on the LAN because all traffic no longer has to be forwarded to all nodes on the LAN.

Benefits of Using VLANs

In addition to reducing traffic and thereby speeding up the network, VLANs have the following advantages:

  • VLANs provide segmentation services traditionally provided by routers in LAN configurations, thereby reducing hardware equipment costs.

  • Packets coupled to a VLAN can be reliably identified and sorted into different domains. You can contain broadcasts within parts of the network, thereby freeing up network resources. For example, when a DHCP server is plugged into a switch and starts broadcasting its presence, you can prevent some hosts from accessing it by using VLANs to split up the network.

  • For security issues, VLANs provide granular control of the network because each VLAN is identified by a single IP subnetwork. All packets passing in and out of a VLAN are consistently tagged with the VLAN ID of that VLAN, thereby providing easy identification, because a VLAN ID on a packet cannot be altered. (For a switch that runs Junos OS that does not support ELS, we recommend that you avoid using 1 as a VLAN ID, because that ID is a default value.)

  • VLANs react quickly to host relocation—this is also due to the persistent VLAN tag on packets.

  • On an Ethernet LAN, all network nodes must be physically connected to the same network. In VLANs, the physical location of nodes is not important—you can group network devices in any way that makes sense for your organization, such as by department or business function, types of network nodes, or physical location.