VLAN vs SVI: Understand the Difference

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,Routing & Switching

What is VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network)

A virtual LAN or VLAN is any broadcast domain that is segregated and isolated at the data link layer  OSI layer 2. VLANs reduce the load on a network by keeping local traffic within a VLAN. However, because each type VLAN its own domain, a mechanism is needed for VLANS to pass data to other VLANS without passing the data through a router.

The solution is SVI networking i.e. switched virtual interface.

Related – VLAN vs Subnet



What is SVI (Switched Virtual Interface)

An SVI interface is usually found on Layer 3 switches. With SVIs the switch recognizes the packet destinations that are local to the sending VLAN and then routes packets destined for different VLANs.

An SVI interface can be created for each VLAN that exists but only one SVI can be mapped to each VLAN. An SVI  is virtual and has no physical port defined and performs the same functions for the VLAN as a router interface. SVI is also called Interface VLAN.

Comparison Table: VLAN vs SVI

Below table summarizes the differences between the two:

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

Download the difference table: VLAN vs SVI.

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Are you preparing for your next interview?

If you want to learn more about VLAN, then check our e-book on VLAN System Interview Questions and Answers in easy to understand PDF Format explained with relevant Diagrams (where required) for better ease of understanding.

For more information on the difference in VLAN and SVI watch this video –


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