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[WINNERS ANNOUNCED] Community Challenge: VLAN Explained

Community Manager


UPDATE Mon, June 24: Congratulations to the winners! Read the announcement.


UPDATE Mon, June 24: Voting is closed, stay tuned for the announcement of the winners!


UPDATE Weds, June 19: We have been blown away by the number of entries for this challenge, all of them showing such compassion for Carl and patience in helping him understand! Because we have so many entries to consider, we're extending the voting deadline until Monday June 24th at 10:59am. So be sure take a look at all of the entries and kudo your favorites before Monday! 


UPDATE Mon, June 17: Submissions have ended for this challenge! Now is your time to vote. Remember, we will have two winners — one chosen by the most kudos received and one selected by our panel of Meraki judges. So cast your vote by giving kudos to your favorite entries and we'll announce both winners on Friday, June 21st at 11am PDT.

Virtual local area networks, or VLANs if you ain’t got time for that, are critical components for simplifying network deployments through segmentation. Despite their abundant merits, it can be tricky to inspire appreciation in a lay-person, say, Carl from Finance.


For this month’s challenge, we’re asking you to explain, in the simplest possible terms, the concept of and benefits to utilizing VLANs. Your audience, let’s carry on with Carl, is intelligent, but non-technical and completely at sea when it comes to networking. You can use whatever media, analogies, or hyperbole necessary to help Carl understand.


The winners will receive stylish grey Cisco Meraki backpacks:




How to enter

Submit your contest entry in a comment on this blog post before 11 a.m. PDT on Monday (June 17th, 2019). Entries won’t be made public until voting starts. After you submit your entry, you’ll see a message reading “Your post will appear as soon as it is approved.”


How to win

Voting begins when submissions close (at 11 a.m. PDT on Monday, June 17th, 2019), and continues to the end of the work week. Voting closes at 11 a.m. PDT on Friday, June 21st, 2019.


We will be selecting 2 winners:


  1. The Community Favorite — chosen by you, our Community members. Cast your vote by giving kudos to your favorite entries. The entry with the most kudos from community members who aren't Meraki employees will win!
  2. The Meraki Favorite — a panel of experts here at Meraki will select the Meraki Favorite prize.


The Fine Print

  • Limit one entry per community member.
  • Submission period: Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 at 11am PDT through Monday, June 17th, 2019 at 10:59am PDT
  • Voting period: Monday, June 17th, 2019 at 11am PDT through Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 11am PDT
  • Prize will be a selection of Meraki swag with value not exceeding USD 50.00
  • Official terms, conditions, and eligibility information
Kind of a big deal

VLANs enable groups of devices from multiple networks (both wired and wireless) to be combined into a single logical network. The result is a virtual LAN that can be administered like a physical local area network.




VLAN 2 = Printers

VLAN 3 = Wifi

Comes here often

It's like a divider plate. All the food is on the same plate but nothing touches each other.

Here to help

By definition, a Virtual Network. Basically, an isolated Layer2 broadcast domain where traffic outside of it requires a router (L3 switch) in order to get traffic across to other networks.

Comes here often

you speak French, the other person speaks Tagalog.   The languages are the VLANs.  You need a translator, i.e. "router" (or similar)  to translate. 


You are on a road with multiple tracks. Between these clues there is a wall that separates the type of traffic (trucks, cars, motorcycles) and what speed each one can travel. So is the VLAN, each type of traffic separated by characteristics such as: speed of each vehicle, its size, distance between each vehicle, whether or not tolls exist.


VLAN enabled ports are generally categorised in one of two ways, tagged or untagged. These may also be referred to as "trunk" or "access" respectively. The purpose of a tagged or "trunked" port is to pass traffic for multiple VLAN's, whereas an untagged or "access" port accepts traffic for only a single VLAN. 

Trunk ports require more steps to successfully negotiate as a trunk.

Both ends of the link must have the following in common:

  • Encapsulation
  • Allowed VLAN's
  • Native VLAN
Comes here often

Administration & Segmentation 

Just browsing


Concept: Virtual networks configured on a switch  


Benefits: Good for testing and segmenting devices. 

Comes here often

Logically separated LANs.

Comes here often

LANs separated at layer 2 of the OSI model.

Just browsing

It is like this...


imagine a switch is the Mercedes formula1 team


vlan 1 is Lewis hammilton

vlan 2 is valtteri bottas


they are on the same team, fly the same planes, live in the same garage. but they to NOT communicate across the garage, they just talk to their own part of the team


It’s Only when you put in a gateway, lets Call it toto wollf, that they talk to each other, and then only what Toto tells them to say to each other

Kind of a big deal

Carl, VLANs are like bank accounts.


You can have multiple bank accounts to divide up your money (or debt!) in ways that make sense to you or helps you.


VLANs divide up a companies network in ways that make sense or helps the company.


It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes

Comes here often

VLANs are like lanes on a freeway; everyone is using the same physical road, but there's lanes to split the traffic into various types, such as a truck lane for slower vehicles, a carpool lane for vehicles carrying multiple people, and an express lane for those willing to pay extra for priority access.


A network without VLANs would be like a freeway without lanes; it would be pure chaos because you'd have various types of traffic all fighting over the same access.


VLAN Stands for Virtual Local Area Network. 


Think of it like this. A 24 port switch can be divided into 2 - 12 port switches. The first 12 ports can be on vlan 10 and the next 12 can be on vlan 20 and neither network knows of the other. 


In other words, imagine driving down the road and there's a wall between you and the car next to you. 

New here

A VLAN is a logical LAN only made possible by a configuration feature available in the software running the switch, it is not physical.

VLAN's reduce broadcast traffic, facilitate the administration of networks by grouping physically dispersed computers on the same logical LAN, help enforce security policies.

Getting noticed

A vlan is a solution that allows you to separate devices into individual network segments.


VLANs are like classrooms, where the size of the room is relative to the IP address block size. Anytime you try to send a message, like passing a paper note, you have to send it to everyone in the room before your message leaves the room, where the door is the default gateway and the closest person to it hands it off. People in other rooms (VLANs) will not see the note unless it was allowed and explicitly sent to them, in which case the hall monitor (router) will give it to that room. The note is then passed around in that room until it reaches the intended recipient.


What is a VLAN?


VLAN Stands for Virtual Local Area Network.


Let us imagine a footpath in a park. It has limited space and is say shared by pedestrians and cyclists. During busy periods, pedestrians and cyclists are constantly contending for space and accidents begin to happen. One day someone drew a line down the path and painted an image of a person along one lane and a picture of a cycle on the other.


This had an immediate effect. Cyclists only used the cycle lane and they all respected each other. Pedestrians used the pedestrian lane and they all

respected each other. Although both sets of traffic had to share the same path, it was now easy to manage the different types of traffic based on a category.


This is how a VLAN might work. One VLAN might carry voice traffic, and one VLAN might carry all the other data traffic. Still sharing the same connection, however ordered and managed.


A VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) is an isolated network within an isolated network that only allows specific kinds of network traffic.  For example, If you live in a community with roads, think of those roads as a network.  They allow vehicles to travel from place to place, the same way that data does on a data network.  Now, put a gated community within that community that only allows golf carts to travel within it.  That's a VLAN.