Chapter 3

Switches, Routers, and VLANs


Bullet Considering the value of switches

Bullet Understanding how switches do their magic

Bullet Examining the role of routers

Bullet Getting to know VLANs

In this chapter, I dig deeper into two of the most basic and ubiquitous networking devices: switches and routers. Every network has at least one switch and one router, and all but the smallest networks have more than one switch. These components are the basic building blocks of networks, so understanding what they do and how they work is essential to properly designing, implementing, and maintaining a network that functions well.

Besides switches and routers, this chapter also introduces the concept of virtual local area networks (VLANs). A VLAN is a fancy technique that lets you split a single physical network into two or more logical networks. VLANs are one of the key techniques for organizing a network in a way that will allow the network to scale up as your organization grows. Small networks don’t need to worry about VLANs, but even in a relatively small network, it pays to know what VLANs are. Introducing ...

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