LAN (Local Area Network) is a collection of network devices which employ the communications between the connected devices. Similarly, VLAN (Virtual LAN) is a type of LAN which enhances the capabilities of a flat LAN. Now, how these can be differentiated? There are major differences between LAN and VLAN such as LAN work on single broadcast domain while VLAN works in a multiple broadcast domain. VLAN can combine the end station having similar requirement irrespective of their physical location which is not possible in case of LAN.
The basic need of implementing VLAN is the splitting of networks. The networks are divided into workstations within a LAN to eliminate the congestion and load. Previously basic LAN is limited to its capabilities and induces congestion in the network. Virtual LAN can only be created using switches or bridges while in LAN hubs, switches and routers are used.
Content: LAN Vs VLAN
|Basis for comparison||LAN||VLAN|
|Stands for||Local Area Network||Virtual Local Area Network|
|Devices used||Hub, switch and router.||Switch and bridge.|
|Broadcast control||Packet is broadcasted to each device.||Sends packet to the specific broadcast domain.|
|Security||Not secure enough and security measures are only taken at the routers end.||Improves security by limiting the broadcast domain.|
|Flexibility and scalability||Only filter the frames and is less scalable.||Specifies the port and protocols to identify the frame.|
|Failure domain||Less efficient as compared to VLAN.||Delivers better performance and efficiency than a typical LAN.|
|Networking Mechanism (Protocols used)||Standard Ethernet protocols such as token ring and FDDI.||Standard protocols including ISP and VTP.|
Definition of LAN
LAN (Local Area Network) is a set of computers connected with each other in order to communicate with each other, and it is limited to some certain geographic area. The area it covers could be a building, office, school etc. It is the least expensive type of network because it involves low-cost cabling and networking devices. It enables the sharing of resources and information, such as files, software applications, cameras, printers, etc. Even if the resource is not available locally, it can remotely provide the resources. A LAN is centrally managed (Central administration).
LAN requires some essential components for its operation:
Interface to the network – This includes computer and the electronic devices that function as the endpoints in the network to send and receive the data.
Interconnections – It facilitates the travelling of the data from one location to another. NIC and network media is the part of interconnection. The function of NIC(Network Interface Card) is to convert the data into the form which can be transmitted over the LAN. The cables and wireless media is the network media used to transmit signals.
Network devices – Hubs, switches and routers are the network devices. These devices act as the assembling device which connects the interfacing devices or LAN segments. Hub and switch are layer 2 device, while router operates at the network layer, i.e., layer 3.
Protocols – Controls the transmission of the data over the LAN. For example, protocols such as IP, ARP, DHCP etc.
Fundamentally there are two types of LAN, wired LAN and wireless LAN. Wired LAN includes 10BaseT, fast and Gigabit Ethernet, etcetera.
Definition of VLAN
Unlike LAN, VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) is a logical separation of the LAN where multiple LAN segments are created within a single bandwidth. The speciality of Virtual LAN is that the LAN segments constructed in the LAN can be spanned and contracted according to the requirement. This division of a single broadcast domain generates more bandwidth. It eliminates the need for installing multiple different switches for the various subnetworks of an organisation.
Switches are used for implementation of VLAN; each switch port is allotted a single VLAN. Ports exist in the same VLAN can share broadcasts while ports exist in different VLAN cannot. It also provides security by restricting the broadcast to every port present in the switch and building several broadcasts from a single broadcast.
A greater amount of flexibility is offered by VLAN as the ports can also switch if needed. It significantly reduces the cost, as it eliminates the need for purchasing expensive switches to separate the subnetworks in a network. VLAN must implement a hierarchical network addressing scheme through which IP addresses can be assigned to the network segment or VLAN in a systematic fashion.
Static VLAN – In this type of VLAN creation, the VLAN is assigned to the port manually. This static configuration is said to be the most secure way of creating a VLAN as it does not change until the network administrator itself changes the configuration.
Dynamic VLAN – The dynamic configuration uses the intelligent software for the automatic assignment to the port of the VLAN.
Key Differences Between LAN and VLAN
- The devices such as a hub, switch, and a router can be used to create a LAN. On the other hand, VLAN is created using switch or bridge.
- There is a single broadcast domain in LAN, so each packet is broadcast to every connection excluding the sending device. In contrast, VLAN can implement multiple broadcast domain in a single medium, and the packet can be sent to the required LAN segment.
- The latency count in LAN is higher as there single broadcast domain is used and which causes the collision. VLAN produces low latency.
- When it comes to security LAN is less secure than VLAN because it restricts the transfer of packets to the unnecessary ports by isolating the users within distinct VLANs.
- VLAN is more flexible and scalable, where the new users can be added and removed accordingly and deployed in a suitable LAN segment regardless of the physical location. It can also identify the traffic.
- VLAN also reduces the cost of hardware by using one switch for two separate networks instead of using two switches.
- VLAN can easily troubleshoot, managed as it uses special technology for doing so. LAN performance is average as compared to VLAN which offers more efficiency and accuracy.
- LAN involves standard LAN protocols such as token ring and FDDI while in VLAN special protocols are employed in the network mechanism like ISL (Inter-Switch Link) and VTP (VPN Trunk Protocol).
VLAN is the extension of LAN where the capabilities of a typical LAN is enhanced by logically segmenting the LAN into multiple broadcast domain. This partition logically creates numerous LAN in a single switch or bridge hence, reducing the traffic, cost and increasing the performance, administration convenience and security. It also provides ease of troubleshooting and management.