VLANS on Home Networks

vlans-home-network-iconIn the early days of networking splitting a network into segments required a router.

VLANS or Virtual LANS is a technology that allows you to split a home network into segments using low cost switches.

Generally a switch will send broadcast traffic to all connected ports, and will allow devices connected on any port to communicate with any other device.

VLANS were created in order to reduce the amount of broadcast traffic on a network.

However on home networks they are used mainly to improve network security.

If we consider a switch with 8 ports as shown in the schematic below.

A broadcast sent from a device attached to any port will be sent to all ports.


In addition any device attached to any port can communicate with any other device attached to any port.

This becomes problematic when you have untrusted devices with access to your network or as in the case of home automation you have IOT devices that are possibly vulnerable to attack.

However with a VLAN capable switch it is possible to restrict broadcasts and to control which devices can communicate with each other.

This makes it possible to design a more secure home network.

If we now take out 8 port switch and split it into two VLANs which we call VLAN1 and VLAN2 as shown below.


In this configuration we effectively have created two independent networks. Devices connected to VLAN1 cannot communicate with devices that are connected to VLAN2 and vice versa

VLAN Uses on A Home network

The main use is for security where you want to isolate certain machines from the main network. Here are two usage examples that should make it clearer.

Simple Design Examples

Example 1

You have lodgers or a guest house and want to isolate guest machines from you main network but give them access to the Internet.

Example 2

You have IOT devices e.g and want to isolate them from you main network, but need them to be accessible from the Internet.

Implementing Examples 1 and 2

To implement both examples 1 and 2 we require a VLAN capable switch which we split into 2 VLANS.

1 VLAN will be for our Home devices VLAN1 and the other for our IOT devices or for guest access (VLAN2).

One port of the switch will be common to both VLANs and connects to our router. This is shown in the schematic below.

In the above illustration Port 1 is common to VLAN1 and VLAN2 and is connected to the router to give both VLANs access to the Internet.

Devices connected to ports 2,3,4,5 can communicate directly with other i.e you can ping them.

They can also access the Internet, but they cannot connect to devices connected to ports 6,7,8.

Devices connected to ports 6,7,8 can communicate directly with other i.e you can ping them.

They can also access the Internet, but they cannot connect to devices connected to ports 2,3,4,5.

TP-Link Router Configuration

My TPlink Router also supports VLANS and so I connect my guest network which is in the basement to LAN1 (port1) and assign it to its own VLAN.

There is no option to assign a Wan Interface as it automatically is allowed.


This is a schematic of my home network using the TP-link router..



  • The Wi-Fi router is on the main network VLAN.
  • The Router assigns a different subnet to the second VLAN. The main network uses and the basement VLAN uses

Switches With VLAN Support

Usually if the switch is labelled as a smart switch or managed switch it will have VLAN support but you should read the description to be sure.

Below is screen shot from Amazon of a TP-link switch (£30) that supports VLANs.



VLANs provide an excellent and low cost method of greatly improving you home network security and should be considered if you share your network with guests, and or have IOT devices connected to your Network.

Related Tutorials and Resources

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  1. hi i’ve followed this through and can’t get it to work at all. I have two vlans 1 and 10 on an hpv1910 48g switch, and i’m using a virginmedia superhub for access. I’ve set both vlans to have a common physical port as a hybrid port that connects by cable directly to the superhub. each vlan has been set to have an ip address , respectively for vlan 1 and for vlan 10. The superhub is the default gateway at . at this point, any clients plugged into vlan 1 by default works fine with full access to the internet and each other. No access to clients in vlan10 , as expected – all good. However, clients in vlan 10 cannot connect to the internet at all. From what you have said above this should just start working but it doesn’t -what could I be doing wrong? is this because the superhub from virginmedia is not vlan aware in any shape way or form and is what i’m trying to achieve effectively impossible?

  2. Hi,
    I am trying to setup a home network that I can do the following:
    1. Main network
    2. Kids network ( guest network) with parental control
    3. Vlan – for smart devices (security reason)
    4. Cottage network- for guests

    Question:. All the smart devices require wifi access. How does vlan utilize the wifi network? How do I ensure the security ?

    If I implemented what you wrote above. Will it accomplish my goal of 4 networks that can be parental controlled separately?

    1. Yes most routers offer guest network ability which is for guests not the kids and would be Wi-Fi only. The parental control for the kids can be done on the device address rather than the network address.

  3. Hi there,

    I’m hoping you can help me.

    My setup:
    I have the following devices as part of my network:
    2x TP Link access points (EAP225 and EAP255)
    1x Virgin media superhub / router – internet access
    1x 16 port TP link unmanaged switch
    1x 8 port TP link unmanaged switch
    1x 5 port managed switch (TP link SG105E)

    On the WiFi access points, I configured them to broadcast three WiFi networks:
    IoT (for all my IoT devices)
    Guest (for guests)
    Home network (everything else that doesn’t fall into the two above)

    My requirement:
    I have a few devices plugged into both the 8 port and 16 port switches and I’m happy for them to be on ‘Home network’. The other IoT devices and guests connect in via the APs and I would like for them to be separate VLANs.

    The issue:
    I just want to set up the VLANs on the switch and bind the WiFi networks on the APs to those VLANs (i.e. VLAN ID 2 = Iot, VLAN ID 3 = guest, VLAN ID 1,4,5 = home network).
    I can’t figure out how to do this using the web based configuration on the SG105E – getting confused between MTU, port based, 801.2q etc..)
    Can you help?

  4. This is great. I wanted to know why and how to utilize VLAN in my home network. I just purchased a refurbished Cisco 3750 and want to put it my network. I am assuming that my modem/router from Spectrum/ATT/Comcast etc. would plug into on port on the switch.

    So I can configure on port on the switch to be available to many VLANs?

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