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LAN vs VLAN | Difference between LAN and VLAN

This page compares LAN vs VLAN and describes difference between LAN and VLAN. LAN stands for Local Area Network while VLAN stands for Virtual Local Area Network. The useful links to difference between various terms are provided here.

Physical LAN-Local Area Network

LAN network

LAN is the short form of Local Area Network. The hosts are connected on the same ethernet switch on different ports. The common devices used on LAN are Hubs and Switches.
• The Hub share the data between computers using broadcast address. The host sends the frame to the entire network and to all the ports of the switch. All the hosts ignore the frame except the one for which it is intended as per destination address. This increases traffic on the switch to a great extent.
• The another device called switch share the data between computers using unicast address. Hence two hosts can directly communicate within the same switch. Two hosts which are not within the same switch can go through the routers.
Refer LAN features and comparison with MAN, CAN and WAN➤.

VLAN | Virtual LAN | Virtual Local Area Network

VLAN network

VLAN is the short form of Virtual Local Area Network. It is also known as Virtual LAN. The VLAN is basically configured on ethernet switch. Unlike single LAN on ethernet switch, multiple Virtual LANs are implemented on single switch.

This is done by splitting and assigning number of ports to the different VLANs. Hence broadcast, multicast and other unknown destination traffic originated from one VLAN say VLAN-A gets limited to the members of the same VLAN-A. The traffic do not cross the other VLANs in the switch. This will bring down traffic load on the ethernet switch.
Refer VLAN basics➤ and VLAN tagging➤ for more detailed information including VLAN frame, VLAN tagging and VLAN untagging concepts.

Tabular difference between LAN and VLAN

Following table mentions similarities and difference between LAN and VLAN network types.


Features LAN VLAN
Full Form Local Area Network Virtual Local Area Network
Devices Hubs and switches are used in LAN Switches with VLAN tagging capabilities are used.
Coverage Host (i.e. node) to host communication within the building Host-to-Host Communication between buildings which are far away beyond LAN limit. This is possible as VLANs can span multiple switches located in different office or building premises.
Protocols Normal ethernet frame is used. Uses protocols such as IEEE 802.1Q and VLAN Trunk protocol (VTP). These protocols help traffic to be routed to correct interfaces
Ports to subnet mapping Ports can not be moved between different subnets Ports can be moved between subnets easily on the same switch. Hence different VLANs on the same switch can have different number of ports.
Number of LAN/VLANs per ethernet switch One LAN consisting of multiple hosts on one switch Many VLANs can coexist on the same ethernet switch. Each of the VLAN will have different number of ports.
Software configuration Not needed Need to know commands for tagging in order to configure VLAN
Application To have sharing of common resources as well as interconnectivity between hosts Same as mentioned in LAN, in addition it extends capabilities of LAN with easy configurability and less burden on the ethernet switch.


Networking Links

• Circuit Switching vs Packet switching   • Packet Switching vs Message switching   • What is an IP address   • What is MAC Address   • Basics of OSI and TCP-IP Layers   • What is Hub   • What is Switch   • What is Bridge   • What is Router   • What is Gateway   • Firewall basics   • TCP-IP Packet format   • ARP Protocol format  



What is Difference between

FTP vs HTTP  FTP vs SMTP  FTP vs TFTP  hub Vs. switch  TCP vs UDP 

RF and Wireless Terminologies



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