Types of Vlans


Today there is essentially one way of implementing VLANs - port-based VLANs. A port-based VLAN is associated with a port called an access VLAN.
However in the network there are a number of terms for VLANs. Some terms define the type of network traffic they carry and others define a specific function a VLAN performs. The following describes common VLAN terminology:
Data VLAN
A data VLAN is a VLAN that is configured to carry only user-generated traffic. A VLAN could carry voice-based traffic or traffic used to manage the switch, but this traffic would not be part of a data VLAN. It is common practice to separate voice and management traffic from data traffic. The importance of separating user data from switch management control data and voice traffic is highlighted by the use of a special term used to identify VLANs that only carry user data - a "data VLAN". A data VLAN is sometimes referred to as a user VLAN.
Default VLAN
All switch ports become a member of the default VLAN after the initial boot up of the switch. Having all the switch ports participate in the default VLAN makes them all part of the same broadcast domain. This allows any device connected to any switch port to communicate with other devices on other switch ports. The default VLAN for Cisco switches is VLAN 1. VLAN 1 has all the features of any VLAN, except that you cannot rename it and you can not delete it. Layer 2 control traffic, such as CDP and spanning tree protocol traffic, will always be associated with VLAN 1 - this cannot be changed. In the figure, VLAN 1 traffic is forwarded over the VLAN trunks connecting the S1, S2, and S3 switches. It is a security best practice to change the default VLAN to a VLAN other than VLAN 1; this entails configuring all the ports on the switch to be associated with a default VLAN other than VLAN 1. VLAN trunks support the transmission of traffic from more than one VLAN. Although VLAN trunks are mentioned throughout this section, they are explained in the next section on VLAN trunking.
Note: Some network administrators use the term "default VLAN" to mean a VLAN other than VLAN 1 defined by the network administrator as the VLAN that all ports are assigned to when they are not in use. In this case, the only role that VLAN 1 plays is that of handling Layer 2 control traffic for the network.
Native VLAN
A native VLAN is assigned to an 802.1Q trunk port. An 802.1Q trunk port supports traffic coming from many VLANs (tagged traffic) as well as traffic that does not come from a VLAN (untagged traffic). The 802.1Q trunk port places untagged traffic on the native VLAN. In the figure, the native VLAN is VLAN 99. Untagged traffic is generated by a computer attached to a switch port that is configured with the native VLAN. Native VLANs are set out in the IEEE 802.1Q specification to maintain backward compatibility with untagged traffic common to legacy LAN scenarios. For our purposes, a native VLAN serves as a common identifier on opposing ends of a trunk link. It is a best practice to use a VLAN other than VLAN 1 as the native VLAN.
Management VLAN
A management VLAN is any VLAN you configure to access the management capabilities of a switch. VLAN 1 would serve as the management VLAN if you did not proactively define a unique VLAN to serve as the management VLAN. You assign the management VLAN an IP address and subnet mask. A switch can be managed via HTTP, Telnet, SSH, or SNMP. Since the out-of-the-box configuration of a Cisco switch has VLAN 1 as the default VLAN, you see that VLAN 1 would be a bad choice as the management VLAN; you wouldn't want an arbitrary user connecting to a switch to default to the management VLAN. Recall that you configured the management VLAN as VLAN 99 in the Basic Switch Concepts and Configuration chapter.
Voice VLANs
It is easy to appreciate why a separate VLAN is needed to support Voice over IP (VoIP). Imagine you are receiving an emergency call and suddenly the quality of the transmission degrades so much you cannot understand what the caller is saying. VoIP traffic requires:
Assured bandwidth to ensure voice quality
Transmission priority over other types of network traffic
Ability to be routed around congested areas on the network
Delay of less than 150 milliseconds (ms) across the network
To meet these requirements, the entire network has to be designed to support VoIP. The details of how to configure a network to support VoIP are beyond the scope of the course, but it is useful to summarize how a voice VLAN works between a switch, a Cisco IP phone, and a computer.
The voice VLAN feature enables switch ports to carry IP voice traffic from an IP phone. When the switch is connected to an IP Phone, the switch sends messages that instruct the attached IP phone to send voice traffic tagged with the voice VLAN ID 150. The traffic from the PC attached to the IP Phone passes through the IP phone untagged. When the switch port has been configured with a voice VLAN, the link between the switch and the IP phone acts as a trunk to carry both the tagged voice traffic and untagged data traffic.
Note: Communication between the switch and IP phone is facilitated by the CDP protocol. This protocol is discussed in greater detail in the CCNA Exploration: Routing Protocols and Concepts course.

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