One network rarely fits all, particularly in the business environment. There are many reasons why you don’t want people in your admin department having access to resources in your R&D department (security and privacy for starters). Perhaps your sales office is sick of support constantly using their printer. Or maybe your business has grown to the extent that the network is becoming congested as different departments flood it with traffic.
One solution would be to set up physically separate networks for each department, but that’s not always practical (never mind the expense). Thankfully there’s an elegant – and more cost-effective – way to achieve your goal.
How VLANs work
The answer to your prayers is to utilise a Virtual LAN (VLAN). As its name suggests, it splits a single physical network connection into two or more virtual – and completely separate – networks. This is done with the help of a suitably equipped router, such as ASUS’s BRT-AC828 Wi-Fi router.
Devices such as the BRT-AC828 enable you to divide your network – wired and wireless – into a maximum of eight VLANs (numbered VLAN1 through to VLAN8), which should be ample for most business needs. Each VLAN then contains the shared resources for specific parts of your business, from admin to sales and support.
There are different ways of creating VLANs, but the simplest is the port-based VLAN, whereby each Ethernet port on your router is assigned to a specific VLAN.
You simply create a VLAN via the router’s settings in your browser (look under Advanced Settings on your ASUS router), then allocate ports to it. You can also allocate Wi-Fi networks to different VLANs too – for example, giving your 5GHz connection to the office where the router is housed, and your 2.4GHz connection to another part of your business.