Difference between LAN and VLAN

Local Area Network (LAN) is used to connect a group of networked devices to allow communication between them, whereas Virtual LAN is used to enhance the performance of multiple LANs.

Read through this article to find out more about LAN and VLAN and how they are different from each other.

What is LAN?

A local area network (LAN) is a network limited to a particular geographic area. A switch, or stack of switches, connects a group of computers and devices using the TCP/IP protocol's private addressing mechanism.

Private addresses are distinct from those of other machines on a local network. Routers are used to connect the LAN's edge to the wider WAN.

Data is transmitted at a high-speed rate because the number of computers linked is limited. The connections must, by definition, be high-speed, and hardware must be reasonably inexpensive (such as hubs, network adapters, and Ethernet cables).

LANs are privately owned and span a smaller geographical area (restricted to a few kilometers). It can be used in various places, including offices, homes, hospitals, and schools. The setup and management of a LAN are straightforward.

Twisted pair and coaxial cables are utilized as a LAN communication medium. Because it only traverses a limited distance, the inaccuracy and noise are kept to a minimum.

Data speeds on early LANs ranged from 4 to 16 Mbps, however the data speeds have improved significantly since then and now they are in the range of 100 to 1000 megabits per second.

In a LAN, the propagation delay is relatively short. Larger LANs can accommodate thousands of computers, whereas smaller LANs may only employ two computers.

A LAN usually has wired connections; however, wireless connectivity can also be used. A LAN's fault tolerance is higher, and the network is less congested.

What is VLAN?

The data link layer of the OSI network model is used to create a Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN). VLANs are created with isolated partitions in workstations. An individual node address moves with the virtual division, not the physical workstation, unlike a physical local area network or LAN. A hardware setup accommodates point-to-point identification and access through a physical network.

VLANs can be implemented on higher-end switches. The goal of setting up a VLAN is to improve a network's performance or to add necessary security features.

Computer networks are divided into two types: Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs). LANs are devices connected in the same network at a specific location such as switches, hubs, bridges, workstations, and servers. A local area network (LAN) is also a broadcast domain.

A VLAN enables several networks to function as if they were all part of the same LAN. One of the most advantageous features of a VLAN is that it reduces network latency, saving network resources, and increasing network efficiency.

VLANs are also used to provide segmentation and help with security, network management, and scalability. VLANs can also be used to regulate traffic flows efficiently.

Difference between LAN and VLAN

The following table highlights the major differences between a LAN and a VLAN.

LAN stands for Local Area Network.
VLAN stands for Virtual Local Area Network.
The price of a LAN is prohibitively high.
The cost of setting up a VLAN is minimal.
Latency in a LAN is higher than that of a VLAN.
The latency of VLANs is very low.
Hubs, Routers and Switches are part of a LAN.
Bridge and Switches are part of a VLAN.
Packet Broadcasting
In a LAN, packets are broadcast to each device.
In a VLAN, packets are sent to a specific broadcast domain.
LAN is less efficient than VLAN.
VLAN is more efficient than a traditional LAN.


A LAN is a network of computers or devices that share a communications line/wireless link to a server within the same geographical area.

A VLAN is called a subnetwork that can group together devices on separate physical LANs. VLANs provide security on larger networks by allowing a higher degree of control over which devices have access to each other. VLANs are based on logical connections, hence they are flexible.

Updated on: 22-Aug-2022

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