10 Best Practices For Effective VLAN Management

Editorial Team

If you are willing to make your business network a lot more efficient while you also keep it secure, then you must be serious about the security of it. the best way to secure your network is to set up a Virtual Area Network (VLANs) correctly

A VLAN is a logical group of workstations, servers, and network devices that appear to be in the same Local Area Network (LAN) despite their geographical distribution. In a nutshell, the hardware on the same VLANs enables traffic between equipment to be separate and also makes it more secure. For example, you might have an Engineering, Marketing, and Accounting department. Each department has workers on many different floors of the building, but they still need to have access and communicate information within their department. It is essential for sharing documents and also their web services. 

VLANs need to be set up with best practices to keep your network safe and secure. Make the following of the smart choices when setting up VLANs. You will never regret it. VLAN management is something you all must have a grip on for your organization’s security.

Applicable Devices

· RV042

· RV110W

· RV130

· RV132

· RV134W

· RV160W

· RV215W

· RV260

· RV260P

· RV260W

· RV320

· RV325

· RV340

· RV340W

· RV345

· RV345P

If You Are New To These Terms, Then You Must Read The Following Definitions

Access Port

An access port carries traffic for a single VLAN. Access ports are mostly referred to as an untagged port, as there is only one VLAN on that port. This way, the traffic can be passed without any tags. 

Trunk Port

A port on a switch that is for carrying traffic for mone than one VLAN. Truck ports are mostly referred to as tagged ports as there is more than a single VLAN on that port. In this case, traffic for all but one VLAN needs to be tagged. 

Native VLAN

The one VLAN in a trunk port that doesn’t receive a tag. Any traffic that doesn’t have a tag will then be sent to the native VLAN. That is why both sides of a trunk are needed to be made sure that they have the same native VLAN or traffic won’t go to the right place. 

VLAN management is the process of managing the switch from a remote location by using such protocols that include telnet, SSH, SNMP, Syslog, etc. Normally the VLAN management is used to get many benefits such as administration, reduced broadcast traffic, confinement of broadcast domains, and enforcement of security policies. VLANs help in giving organizations such benefits, like enabling logical grouping of end-stations that are physically in a dispersed network. 

The primary use of VLANs is to contain broadcasts. To move traffic between VLANs, you need a Layer 3 device to route the packets. End to end VLANs is utilized when devices consistently need to have a place with the same VLAN regardless of where the device is located—mostly for security reasons. Local VLANs are topographically based and are utilized to separate broadcast domains. Local VLANs don’t reach out past a building’s access and distribution layers. 

VLANs can be related to a switch interface either dynamically or statically. Dynamic VLANs utilize a VMPS server to relate clients to VLANs, however require a ton of upfront setup. In any case, a user can be connected to a switch port anywhere in the network and be related to the right VLAN dynamically. Static VLANs are simpler to configure. However, they are harder to manage if users are persistently moving around in the network.

Best Practices Of VLAN Management Include

1. VLAN Port Assignment

The first step in VLAN management is the port assignment. Port Assignment Basics 

  • Every LAN port can be set to be an access port or a trunk port. 
  • VLANs that you don’t need on the trunk ought to be avoided. 
  • A VLAN can be set in more than one port. 

Configuring Access Ports 

  • One VLAN assigned on a LAN port 
  • The VLAN that is relegated this port ought to be marked Untagged 
  • All different VLANs ought to be named Excluded for that port 

To set these accurately, explore to LAN > VLAN Settings. Select the VLAN IDs and click on the edit icon. Select the drop-down menu for any of the LAN interfaces for VLANs inclined to edit the VLAN tagging. Click Apply. 

Configuring Trunk Ports 

  • At least two VLANs share one LAN port 
  • One of the VLANs can be named Untagged. 
  • The remainder of the VLANs that are essential for the trunk port ought to be named Tagged. 
  • The VLANs that are not part of the trunk port ought to be marked Excluded for that port. 

2. Default VLAN 1 And Unused Ports 

All of the ports require to be assigned to at least one or more than one VLAN, including the native VLAN. Cisco Business routers accompany VLAN 1 appointed to all ports by defaults. 

A management VLAN is the VLAN that is utilized to remotely manage, control, and screen the devices in your network utilizing Telnet, SSH, SNMP, Syslog, or Cisco’s FindIT. Of course, this is also the VLAN 1. A decent security practice is to isolate the management and user data traffic. In this way, it is suggested that when you configure VLANs, you use VLAN 1 for management purposes only. 

To discuss and keep in touch remotely with a Cisco switch for management purposes, the switch must have an IP address configured on the management VLAN. Users in different VLANs would not have the option to set up remote access sessions to the switch except if they were routed into the management VLAN, giving an extra layer of security. Additionally, the switch ought to be designed to acknowledge just encrypted SSH sessions for remote management. 

3. Create An “Impasse” VLAN for Unused Ports 

Stage 1. Explore to LAN > VLAN Settings. 

Pick an arbitrary number for the VLAN. Be certain that this VLAN doesn’t have DHCP, Inter-VLAN routing, or device management empowered. This keeps the different VLANs safer. Put any unused LAN port on this VLAN. 

Stage 2. Click on the Apply button to spare the configuration changes you have made. 

4. IP Phones On A VLAN 

The 4th step in VLAN management has IP phones on a VLAN. Voice traffic has a rigid Quality of Service (QoS) requirements. If your organization has PCs and IP telephones on the same VLAN, each attempts to utilize the available bandwidth without thinking about the other device. To evade this conflict, it is acceptable practice to utilize separate VLANs for IP communication voice traffic and data traffic. 

5. Inter-VLAN Routing 

VLANs are set up with the goal that traffic can be isolated; however, now and then, you need VLANs to have the option to route between one another. This is inter- VLAN routing and is commonly not suggested. If this is a requirement for your organization, set it up as safely as possibly expected under the circumstances. When utilizing inter- VLAN routing, make sure to limit traffic-utilizing Access Control Lists (ACLs) to servers that contain confidential data. 

ACLs perform packet filtering to control the movement of packets through a network. Packet filtering gives security by limiting the entrance of traffic into a network, limiting user and device access to a network, and keeping traffic from leaving a network. IP access lists decrease the opportunity of spoofing and denial-of-service assaults and permit dynamic, temporary user access through a firewall. 

6. Separate Management And User Data Traffic

A decent security practice is to isolate management and user data traffic. The management VLAN, which is VLAN 1 by default, ought to be changed to a different, distinct VLAN. To discuss remotely with a Cisco switch for management purposes, the switch must have an IP address configured on the management VLAN. Users in different VLANs would not have the option to set up remote access sessions to the switch unless if they were routed into the management VLAN, giving an extra layer of security. Likewise, the switch ought to be configured to accept just encrypted SSH sessions for remote management.

7. Using The Native VLAN As The Management VLAN

The management and native VLAN is 1, of course. It’s acceptable practice to isolate the management and user data traffic. Best work on changing the native VLAN to an unused VLAN. It is suggested that secure the VTY sessions and, if possible, firewall the management VLAN so just relevant users can build up an association with the kit. SANS has an old publication on VLAN executions. There’s a section on VLAN hopping and native VLAN.

8. Distinct Native VLAN

All control traffic is sent on VLAN 1. Consequently, when the native VLAN is changed to some different options from VLAN 1, all control traffic is labeled on IEEE 802.1Q VLAN trunks (labeled with VLAN ID 1). A prescribed security practice is to change the native VLAN to an alternate VLAN than VLAN 1. The native VLAN ought to likewise be particular from all user VLANs. Guarantee that the native VLAN for an 802.1Q trunk is the equivalent on the two ends of the trunk link. DTP offers four switch port modes access, trunk, dynamic auto, and dynamic desirable. An overall rule is to disable auto-negotiation. As a port security best practice, don’t utilize the dynamic auto or dynamic desirable switch port modes.

9. Configure All The Ports On All Switches

Cisco switches have a factory default configuration in which default VLANs are preconfigured to help different media and protocol types. The default Ethernet VLAN will be VLAN 1. It is a security best practice to configure all the ports on all switches to be related to VLANs other than VLAN 1. This is generally done by configuring all unused ports to a black hole VLAN that isn’t utilized for anything on the network. All pre-owned ports are related to VLANs distinct from VLAN 1 and distinct from the black hole VLAN. It is likewise a good practice to close down unused switch ports to prevent unapproved access.

10. Separate VLANs For IP Telephony And Data Traffic

At last, voice traffic has rigid QoS necessities. On the off chance that client PCs and IP telephones are on the same VLAN, each attempts to utilize the accessible bandwidth capacity without thinking about the other device. To dodge this conflict, it is acceptable practice to utilize separate VLANs for IP telephony and data traffic. This was the last best practice for VLAN management. 


There you have it, presently you know some best practices for VLAN management securely. Remember these tips when you configure VLANs for your organization. These will keep you pushing toward a profitable, effective organization that is perfect for your business. VLAN access control lists are a function of the Catalyst 6000 switch that empower network experts to add functionality and speed to network designs. 

These lists work in equipment and have the look and feel of conventional switch ACLs. The VACL is applied to the VLAN and can filter traffic dependent on Layer 3 or more data in the packet for any traffic that goes through the given VLAN on the switch that is configured with the list. The lists are quite easy to manage and offer some noteworthy editing capacities that are better than conventional routers ACLs. 

The expansion of VACLs to the design of the switch has provided us the opportunity to stop and think for examination on exactly how to implement security approaches in the switched condition. As an ever-increasing number of capacities move to hardware, the switch is quickly turning into the workhorse of the campus environment. Security is only one of the numerous capacities that switching is starting to play a more active role in for campus networks.

Switches are additionally starting to take on different functions, for example, QoS classification, scheduling, policing, and packet rewrites. As switches keep on getting more powerful, numerous customary concepts of grounds internetworking will be tested, and, generally speaking, the presentation of the campus network will enormously improve. What are you doing for your VLAN management?