GE D7600 Series Switch User Manual

User’s Manual 8
Manageable 8/9-Port Switch
A virtual LAN (VLAN) is a network of computers or peripherals that behave as if they are
connected to the same wire, even though they may actually be physically located
in different locations of a LAN. VLANs are similar to a group of end stations, perhaps on
multiple physical LAN segments that are not inhibited by their physical location
and can communicate as if they were on a common LAN.
VLANs are configured through software rather than hardware, which makes the extremely
flexible. One of the biggest advantages of VLANs is that when a peripheral
is physically moved to another location, it can stay on the same VLAN without any
hardware reconfiguration.
Because VLANs are not limited by the hardware constraints that physically connect
traditional LAN segments to a network, they can define a network into various logical con-
figurations. For example, VLANs can define a network by function.
In this setting, a system integrator might create one VLAN for multimedia users
and another for email users. VLANs can also define a network by location or type of serv-
ice. For example, a location might have one VLAN for its cameras, another for it access
control, and another for its roadside signs.
VLANs can also be set up according to the organization structure within a company. For
example, the company president might have his/her own VLAN, the executive staff might
have a different VLAN, and the remaining employees might have yet another
different VLAN.
As these examples show, VLANs offer matchless flexibility. The following
sections describe how deploying VLANs can benefit system integrators and
reduce design costs.