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When setting up VLAN networks, we have to define whether the ports on the switch are tagged or untagged.

  1. What is the difference?
  2. How are the ports related to trunk ports and access ports?
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This all comes about because different vendors often choose to use different terminology or in some cases the same terminology for different concepts.

What Cisco calls a trunk port is also known as a tagged port by certain other vendors. This means that 802.1Q headers are inserted on all of the traffic for the tagged VLANs.

What Cisco calls an access port would then equate to an untagged port. Not to confuse the issue, but a tagged port generally will have zero or one untagged VLAN assigned to it as well. An untagged port is more specifically one on which no traffic is 802.1Q tagged.

In some environments (Solaris, some HP switches, etc), a trunk is used to refer to link aggregation, or what Cisco calls etherchannel. So sometimes to avoid confusion, tagged port may be preferred by some people.

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