CS 158B – Project report Name: Elaine Lim & Allison Nham Due date: March 25, 2005

1. Overview: The Virtual Local Area Networks (VLAN) is a switch network technology that enables workstations or devices from different LAN segments logically grouped together regardless of their geographical location. In this paper, we will introduce some key aspects of VLAN and discuss the benefits of VLAN and why it is worthwhile. 2. How VLAN works: A virtual LAN is no different from a traditional LAN, because it is considered as a broadcast domain. This means every broadcast packet propagates through the network will be seen by every host on the network. In the traditional network, if user wants to send a packet to the network, his broadcast packet will have to travel to all other users on the LAN. While this makes sense for some users within a workgroup to see each other’s messages, it is unlikely that all users in a company would want to receive other’s messages. As a result, a VLAN is designed to define smaller broadcast domains within a switch. This means each VLAN is assigned an identifier and any packet can only travel from one broadcast domain to another if both domains have the same identifier. 3. Requirements to set up VLAN: In order to implement VLAN in a network environment, we need VLAN-aware switching devices that must either comply with IEEE 802.1Q standards or must have a vendor-specific implementation of VLAN. These devices can be intelligent switches, which operate at the MAC

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With VLAN management software. in reality it is the software that provides VLAN capabilities. ports 2 and 5 belong to VLAN 2. and 4 belong to VLAN 1. Although a switching device is required to handle a VLAN formation. 3. For example. However. the network manager groups all members in a VLAN together by means of MAC addresses. or routers. B.layer. a port-based VLAN allows us to have separate VLANs among ports on the same switch. all users must be configured initially at least in one VLAN and this clearly Page 2 of 6 . This method is easy for setting up and monitoring a VLAN group because it works well in a network where the movement of users is high. The key advantage of this method is the network manager does not need to reconfigure the switch when the user moves to a different port. the network manager simply defines their new port as a member of their existing VLANs. VLAN grouping method can be divided into three general categories: port-based grouping. This means the network manager can define a mapping of VLANs to a bunch of interconnected switch ports. in a switch with five ports. MAC address-based grouping: In this case. one drawback of VLAN membership defining by port is that the network manager needs to reconfigure the membership as the user migrates from one port to another. 4. If the user moves. As its name implies. Types of VLAN: Depending on the vendors. there are some limitations with MAC address-based grouping. the network manager will be able to reconfigure VLAN infrastructure. First. However. MAC address-based grouping and protocol-based grouping. A. ports 1. Port-based grouping: Port-based grouping is the most common technique in defining VLAN membership. regardless of where the resources or users are located. Each switch tracks the MAC addresses which belong to each VLAN. which operate at the network layer of the OSI reference model.

Protocol-based grouping: In a protocol-based grouping. Then this information will be broadcast continuously to all other switches on the network. In the table maintenance over signaling. VLAN membership defined by MAC address encounters a serious performance issue due to the coexistence of members of different VLANs in the same switch port. In a shared media environment. the switch retains the workstation's MAC address together with its VLAN membership in a cached address table. However. three methods have been implemented: table maintenance over signaling. the network manager still needs to update the address table manually if there is a change Page 3 of 6 . when a host broadcasts its first frame. for those Notebook PC users. C. like NetBIOS. It also allows the users to physically move without loosing their membership. they need to constantly update their VLAN membership as the users move around. One of the advantages of protocol-based grouping is that it allows partitioning per protocol type.becomes a huge workload for a large network with thousands of users. Each switch must determine that the packet based on the protocol type provided in the Layer-3 IP header. However. Finally. meaning it must be based on the source address in the IP header. To the end. the other limitation of the protocol-based VLAN grouping is that workstations will be running non-routable protocols that the Layer-3 VLAN cannot handle. 5. one of the disadvantages is that it can affect the network performance due to the need for inspecting the Network layer address in the packet. VLANS memberships: In order to determine the VLAN membership among switches across a network. frame tagging and timedivision multiplexing (TDM). the VLAN formation is based on IP address prefix.

there are two types of links in a VLAN. 7. it wastes bandwidth since a dedicated time slot of one VLAN cannot be used by another when the channel is not busy. When a switch wants to talk to another switch. we cannot simply connect them with one another via a switch. if user A on VLANs1 wanted to talk to user B on VLANs2. it will extract the tag to obtain VLAN information. In a TDM method. the access link method would be used. In a case where we have multiple VLANs on a switch. Type of links in VLANs: Depends on what kind of environment. channels are reserved for each VLAN to support multiple network environments. the network manager needs to establish a trunk link to connect two switches to a router. Moreover. a frame tagging method is used so that the switch can know which VLAN a packet is intended for. he must travel from the switch to the router and then return to the switch. Although it reduces some of the overhead caused by the two methods above. However. The broadcast packet is transmitted like any other packet over the network. 6. users may think that they are talking in the same physical LAN segment. when the switch receives the packet. The access link is normally a switched port in access mode that is attached to a workstation. Because switches and routers are logically constructed. A switched port can run on either access link or trunk link mode. the cached address table needs to be updated when the network expands or new switches are added into the network. Benefits of VLANs: Page 4 of 6 . For example. When a need of connecting users within a single VLAN group arises. The broadcast frame transmitted on an access link is similar to any other Ethernet frame. To get from one VLAN to the other.in VLAN membership.

Conclusion: Page 5 of 6 . Since a switch only sends packets to designated recipients in the same subnet. More security: VLAN also provides increased security option. it improves the performance by limiting the broadcast traffic to a specific network. Since VLAN membership is not bounded to a particular location in the network. Increasing performance: VLAN helps to increase performance by partitioning the network into smaller broadcast domains. This provides the network manager with the ability to manage today's dynamic networks. A. there will be less traffic for the network as a whole. Improving manageability: VLAN also reduces the cost of moving and changing workstations. As a result. this would lead to a more manageable network. we now focus on some promising advantages that this technology has contributed in the network environment. the administrator can group these users who require access to sensitive information into one separate VLAN to separate them from the general users. B. And by grouping the physically scattered workstations into a logical workgroup. it allows users to keep their original IP addresses even when they moved to a different physical location without the need of reconfiguration the IP address. users on particular VLANs can share resources with other users from different logical VLANs without the need of adding additional switches or routers. By grouping the users into a logical network. D. 8. Flexibility and scalability: By allowing the specific resources to obtain the membership in more than one VLAN. C.Having discussed some of the basic concepts behind VLANs.

http://searchnetworking. Lammle.We have discussed the topic of VLANs. Varadarajan. a new technology that serves as a networked work group of users sitting logically close together. “Virtual LANs”. References 1. Sybex.edu/newVLANs.html 6. Todd and Hales.com/other/pdf/solution/en_US/20037401. although their workstations may actually be located in different geographical areas.cis. “Virtual LAN”. “The Virual LAN Technology Report”. 3.cisco. 2001.. Inc. Suba. http://net21.ucdavis. Gibert. 1997. Held. http://www. 2. “CCNP Switching Study Guide”.com/univercd/cc/td/doc/product/lan Page 6 of 6 .pdf 5. “Virtual Local Area Networks”. http://www. Kevin. Inc..ohiostate.edu/~jain/cis788-97/ 4. In conclusion. “Virtual LANs”. http://www.com/content/0290959sid1_gci92917200.3com. John Wiley & Sons.htm 7. “VLANs information”.techtarget. VLAN network technology has promised a new kind of network design tool that assists network manager in adapting the network to fit a competitive changing world.

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