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Virtual vs. Physical LANs: Device Functionalities

Article Description

If you have a good grasp of the basics of local access networks (LANs), it's time to step up your game. Sean Wilkins, co-author of CCNA Routing and Switching ICND2 200-101 Official Cert Guide, explores the concepts behind virtual LANs, how they differ from physical LANs, and why VLANs make sense for modern organizations.


Many terms, features, and technologies are thrown at new networking students. It is common to feel overwhelmed when learning these concepts, which seem complex and foreign to people who have no previous experience in the field. This confusion is compounded by the fact that many of these technologies overlap into each other. An example of this overlap is the concept of a virtual LAN (VLAN). Since it is common to begin by learning about physical LANs, students can become confused if instructors attempt to teach VLAN concepts without first establishing a solid understanding of the physical concepts.

If your understanding of physical LAN concepts is not completely solid, review those concepts thoroughly before reading this article. We will examine how virtual LAN concepts tie in with physical LAN device functionalities, which assumes that you thoroughly understand those physical LAN concepts. Let’s get started.

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