Default VLAN vs Native VLAN

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,BUZZ,Protocol,Routing & Switching

Default VLAN VS Native VLAN

While configuring switching environments, network engineers and Cisco Switching students tend to get tangled with the significance of Default VLAN and Native VLAN while using Dot1Q encapsulation over trunk links. Such challenges are bound to be faced and its equally essential that clarification between both VLAN types is clearly understood.

Though widely used terms, still both Default VLAN and Native VLAN are terms which tend to create doubt.

Related – What is VLAN?


A quick run-through Default VLAN and Native VLAN –

Both terms are related to 802.1q. The 802.1q standard defines a method of tagging traffic between switches to distinguish which traffic belongs to which VLANs.

What is Default VLAN?

Default VLAN is VLAN 1 which cannot be shut down in any case and also it carries controlling traffic. In the case of Cisco (and most vendors), the Default Native VLAN is VLAN 1.Infact in a new switch.


What is Native VLAN?

Native VLAN concept exists in case of encapsulation type 802.1Q (802.1Q supports untagged traffic while ISL does not support untagged traffic). We configure trunk port with a Native VLAN, and whatever traffic arrives on that port without an existing VLAN tag, gets associated with your Native VLAN.

Interestingly, default VLAN cannot be disabled contrary to native VLAN which can be disabled. Moreover, in case Default and Native VLANs are different, untagged VLAN traffic will be sent over Native VLAN and not Default VLAN. In terms of encapsulation, Default VLAN is seen to support both DOT1Q and ISL encapsulations. On the contrary, Native VLAN only exists in DOT1Q encapsulation type.
There are some more contrasting facts between Default and Native VLAN like Control traffic for CDP, PAGP, and VTP is sent over Default VLAN, whereas DTP Traffic is sent over Native VLAN. Lastly, the Default VLAN can only be one per switch, and divergent to it, the number of Native VLANs can be higher than one since it is equivalent to the number of Dot1q trunks on Switch.

Native VLAN vs Default VLAN  Comparison Table-

Modifying the VLAN
The Default VLAN is always 1, this cannot be changed.
The Native VLAN can change. It can be changed to any VLAN
Disabling VLAN
The Default VLAN cannot be disabled
NATIVE VLAN can be "disabled"
Untagged VLAN
Traffic will be sent to Default VLAN when:
Native VLAN and Default VLAN is same
Traffic will be sent to Native VLAN when:
Native VLAN and Default VLAN is same
Native VLAN and Default VLAN is different
Default VLAN values
Any one VLAN per dot1q trunk port.
Encapsulation type
Support on both dot1q and ISL encapsulation
Support on dot1q encapsulation only
Cisco Recommendation
Default VLAN should be VLAN 1
Native VLAN should be VLAN other than 1
Control traffic for CDP,PAgp and VTP
Sent on Default VLAN
Not Sent on Native VLAN
DTP Traffic
Not Sent on Default VLAN
Sent on Native VLAN
Cannot be Shut
Can be Shut
Untagged by default (May be tagged if required)
Max number of VLANs
One per Switch
Number of Dot1q trunks on Switch

Download the difference table here.





I hope you would have got a good understanding of the comparison of Default VLAN and Native VLAN. For other information read our other related content.


Continue Reading:


VLAN vs Subnet

Cisco Switch Configuration


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