Virtual Local Area Network

Learn how the VLAN improves security and use, while remaining invisible to most users.

Episode #4-48 released on August 21, 2014

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We use VLANs every day, often without knowing. We know what WAN means, the wide area network, and we know what LAN means, it is the local area network. The WAN is the internet outside our networks, and the LAN is our home network. Now, many routers and networking hardware have the option for a VLAN, today, you get to learn why VLANs are both useful, and more secure.

Using a VLAN allows for the partitioning of network resources in both residential and commercial networks. This kind of partitioning allows for one massive network to be cut up into many smaller networks. You can, also, integrate more than one network into the VLAN to make the overall accessible network larger, and even use VPN technology to allow for many different networks over the Internet to be one single visible network in the process.

Let's talk at the consumer level, the VLAN allows us to create multiple virtual networks within a single dedicated router. Why is this important? Well, it allows you to both share your wireless access point with guests, while simultaneously allowing you to keep your network secure from unauthorized access to your network assets such as NAS drives, and other computers. The VLAN, also, allows you to prevent accidental infection of files shared with the network from users you may or may not fully trust to be on your network. On your router, you may have access to guest networks, and these guest networks may have the option to isolate your guest networks from your primary networks, and this option creates a VLAN which allows the guest to see the internet, and nothing else.

At the business level, VLANs can be used for many different types of tasks. In the case of places that require internet, and have free WIFI for clients, VLANs prevent clients from accessing sensitive information. In the case of businesses with a headquarters and multiple satellite offices, having a VLAN over the Internet allows the employees to work on documents as if they were in the same office building. VLANs can, also, act as a VPN encrypting all the traffic from the headquarters and satellite offices preventing issues with data security, provided they are setup correctly.

What does this mean for you, whether as a home user, client of a store with free WIFI, or as an employee of a business. Technically, not much. This is the world of the network administrator, but it is useful to understand just how much work actually goes into making the Internet a more accessible place, whether the public Internet, or the business' Intranet.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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