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A VLAN is a virtual LAN.  Technically, a VLAN is a broadcast domain generated by switches.

How a Switch Distinguishes between VLANs

This is done by associating the work stations to a specific VLAN using a specified format.  This is known as VLAN membership.  There are four prominent VLAN membership methods

  • Port (Layer 1 of the OSI model )
  • MAC address (Layer 2 of the OSI model )
  • Protocol type – EtherType (Layer 2 header contains the protocol type field)
  • Subnet address (Note that even though the Switch accesses Layer 3 information,
    it still works at Layer 2 of OSI model only.)

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