Learn the many benefits of Local Area Networks (LANs) for Businesses

Constructing an efficient local network is often essential for any small or medium-sized business. By ensuring that equipment and devices have been properly connected to a stable and secure connection, organizations can seamlessly exchange information, equipment, and services that keep businesses running around the clock.

One of the most common types of network configurations is the Local Area Network (LAN).

Many offices use LANs to share internet connections, printers, storage, and other networked devices with devices contained within the network. Since the advent of Wi-Fi, LANs have made it possible to access applications, databases, and a whole host of other capabilities through a simple wireless connection.

When performance starts to lag, LANs have traditionally been expanded by adding additional pieces of networking hardware. This solution, however, can be a costly, requiring businesses to make major investments in physical equipment.  Fortunately, virtual solutions have made it possible for companies to organize their network capabilities without having to purchase additional hardware.

What is a VLAN?

A virtual local area network (VLAN) functions exactly like a physical LAN, minus the hardware. Through a single switch, multiple different connected networks can be sublet into separate groups based on their specific functions or needs.  Imagine a 3-lane highway where each lane is separated by a cement barrier dividing traffic.  Administrators can keep data from merging over into the wrong traffic lane.

As with a physical LAN, VLANs can be organized based on a company’s specific needs. Establishing separate VLANs for databases, file sharing, voice networks, IoT equipment, public internet access, or any other network need can help ensure that the proper amount of bandwidth, data, and security is available to the right users.

What are the primary advantages of virtual LANs?

Organizations can take advantage of many different VLAN benefits, including:

Separate private and public networks.

Customers at a Starbucks coffee shop may want to access the internet, but they shouldn’t be given a complete look at the back-office’s files and connected devices. That’s where VLANs can come in allowing for public and private access to specific network connections.

Dedicated space for IoT Devices.

From security cameras to coffee makers, connected Internet-of-Things (IoT) equipment can perform an incredibly wide range of tasks. Creating a VLAN strictly for IoT solutions can ensure that connected devices don’t take up unnecessary bandwidth, slowing networks to a crawl.  Smart devices offer many advantages, but they also open up new security vulnerabilities as each IoT device becomes a possible entry point into your network.  Separating IoT devices with a VLAN prevents them from accessing more than they need to.

Traffic prioritization.

Mission-critical apps can require high amounts of bandwidth or stable network connections.  When shared with an office filled with workers, these solutions can grind to a halt without the proper infrastructure in place. VLANs make it easy to prioritize traffic within a network, ensuring that proper amounts of bandwidth and the right network connections are dedicated to the teams or applications that need them the most.

Protect security cameras from unauthorized access.

VLAN configuration for video surveillance is very important as it protects the IP cameras against unauthorized access.  It also separates the camera system from other computers and devices connected to the IP network increase security for your business.

As network capabilities grow, organizations often find themselves struggling to keep up with the increased demand for network resources. Every additional user or device connected to a LAN can affect its overall performance, degrading its capabilities and impacting users who rely on stability for getting work done.

For companies seeking cost-effective methods of segmenting or streamlining internet connections or shared devices, VLANs offer a convenient way of offering users greater access to data and equipment without sacrificing overall network stability. Whether it’s connecting a conference room full of smart TVs or a handful of crucial file servers, VLANs offer a hardware-free solution to ensuring that businesses can safely and securely stay connected to a full range of network needs.

DWD Technology Group offers a full range of IT network services for small and medium-sized businesses. From virtual servers to cost-effective wireless solutions, DWD’s network experts can help any organization find the best network infrastructure. For a free network consultation or additional information on VLANs, contact DWD Technology Group today!