A Comprehensive Comparison of VLAN vs SVI

Posted on May 15, 2024 by

Network architecture is a critical backbone for any modern business or complex IT environment. As networks grow in complexity and size, understanding the various components and technologies that make up these networks becomes crucial. Among these components, VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) and SVIs (Switched Virtual Interfaces) play pivotal roles. Although both are integral to network segmentation and traffic management, their functions, applications, and benefits are distinct. This article delves into VLAN vs SVI, elucidating their differences and benefits.

What is VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network)?

A VLAN is a network protocol designed to create separate, smaller network segments within a larger physical network, regardless of the physical location of the users or devices. VLANs enhance network security, efficiency, and performance by segmenting networks into distinct broadcast domains. This allows network administrators to control traffic, restrict access between network segments, and apply different policies based on requirements. VLANs operate at OSI layer 2 (Data Link layer).

VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network)

Benefits of Using VLAN

  • Enhanced Network Security: By segregating networks into different segments, sensitive data can be isolated and protected.

  • Improved Network Performance: VLANs reduce broadcast traffic, which, in turn, lessens the load on network resources.

  • Flexibility and Scalability: Network administrators can easily create, modify, or delete VLANs without the need for extensive changes to the physical network.

What Is SVI in Networking?

SVI, an abbreviation for Switched Virtual Interface, is a logical interface found on a layer 3 switch. Its purpose is to connect a VLAN to the routing engine of the switch. By doing so, SVI enables the routing of traffic between VLANs by acting as the default gateway for each VLAN. In addition, SVI provides layer 3 IP connectivity to the switch and supports both bridging and routing protocols.

Unlike a physical interface on a router, SVI allows multiple VLANs to utilize the same physical interface on the switch. However, each VLAN has its own distinct logical interface and broadcast domain, differentiating them from one another.

SVI in Networking

To create an SVI, the first step is to establish a layer 2 VLAN on the switch. Subsequently, an IP address is assigned to the corresponding layer 3 interface (SVI). For instance, if VLAN 10 and VLAN 20 exist on the switch, SVI 10 and SVI 20 can be created with separate IP addresses, enabling routing between them. Additionally, an IP address can be assigned to the default SVI (VLAN 1) to facilitate remote management of the switch.

Benefits of Using SVI

  • Enhanced speed and efficiency are achieved through hardware-based switching and routing, surpassing the limitations of the router-on-a-stick method.

  • Streamlined inter-VLAN routing that eliminates the necessity for external links or devices.

  • Improved network performance with reduced latency compared to the utilization of a router, offering higher levels of efficiency.

Comparison Table: VLAN vs SVI

The following table provides an overview of the variances between them:

Parameter VLAN SVI
Abbreviation Virtual Local Area Network Switched Virtual Interface
Platform support Can be configured on Layer 3 and Layer 2 devices Only configurable on Layer 3 devices
Routing across IP subnets Cannot perform routing between VLANs Can perform routing across IP subnets
Configuration Can be enabled via the following command: VLAN (VLAN ID) Interface VLAN (VLAN ID)
OSI Layer Works on Layer 2 of OSI Model Works on Layer 3 of OSI Model

Application of VLAN in PoE switches

In networks using PoE switches, VLAN technology can help administrators effectively divide the network, improve security, and improve performance. For those in need of robust and versatile PoE switches to support complex VLAN configurations and high-power devices, the PoE+ and PoE++ switches from FS are highly recommended. These switches offer a seamless experience for deploying IP cameras, VoIP phones, and other PoE-capable devices across multiple VLANs, ensuring efficient traffic management and enhanced security. Additionally, administrators can benefit from features such as QoS (Quality of Service), which prioritizes critical traffic, and advanced security protocols to protect the network. For example, an administrator might configure different VLANs for different types of devices connected to the same PoE switch. IP cameras may be in one VLAN and VoIP phone in another to ensure traffic isolation, thereby increasing network security and reducing the impact of broadcast traffic. With FS PoE switches, integrating advanced VLAN functionalities into your network has never been easier, making them an ideal choice for modern, secure, and efficient networks.


In the constantly evolving world of networking technology, mastering the core concepts and differences of VLAN vs SVI can help organizations and IT professionals build and manage complex networks that stand the test of time, scalability, and security challenges.

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