Anyone who spent late nights playing video games in their friend’s dorm remembers the joys of setting up a local-area network (LAN) in the days before Wi-Fi. While setting up multiple LANs made for a fun night of gaming with friends, setting up multiple networks on a single router offers a number of vital benefits to today’s businesses and IT professionals.

But given the headaches of deploying and maintaining just a single network on a router, many network admins – or just those managing networks at home – tend to shy away from configuring multiple LANs on a single router.

Before we dive into how to configure multiple networks on a single router, let’s talk about why it can be beneficial.

Why setup Multiple LANs?

While there are many use cases for creating multiple networks, the key benefits are cost savings, security, and access control to specific areas of your network.

While it’s entirely possible that businesses paid to buy and maintain the devices for each separate network, in a small business, this can be accomplished on a single wireless router if that device supports it. For example, many wireless router vendors support a wizard-based configuration for the regular home or small business user. Usually, this is limited to 2 LANs—one for your private network and one for a guest network, for everyone else.

For a large company that needs to deliver Wi-Fi to the entire business, but segment the finance department’s data from marketing while shielding HR data from malicious outsiders, configuring requires understanding how networking hardware creates a network and delivers traffic through it. This wouldn’t be configured on a wireless router but on a dedicated router or multi-layer switch.

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