virtual local area network, virtual LAN or VLAN is a concept of partitioning a physical network, so that distinct broadcast domains are created. This is usually achieved on switch or router devices. Simpler devices only support partitioning on a port level (if at all), so sharing VLANs across devices requires running dedicated cabling for each VLAN. More sophisticated devices can mark packets through tagging, so that a single interconnect (trunk) may be used to transport data for various VLANs.
Grouping hosts with a common set of requirements regardless of their physical location by VLAN can greatly simplify network design. A VLAN has the same attributes as a physical local area network (LAN), but it allows for end stations to be grouped together more easily even if they are not on the same network switch. VLAN membership can be configured through software instead of physically relocating devices or connections. Most enterprise-level networks today use the concept of virtual LANs. Without VLANs, a switch considers all interfaces on the switch to be in the same broadcast domain.
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