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Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to VTP in Networking

VTP in networking is one of the most fundamental yet crucial topics in Layer 2. VLAN Trunking Protocol (VTP) is a Cisco proprietary protocol that simplifies the management of VLANs in a large network. With the help of VTP, one can create, modify, and delete VLANs on a VTP server and propagate these changes to all the switches in the same VTP domain. This way, you can avoid configuring VLANs manually on each switch and ensure consistency across the network. 

For individuals in the role of a network administrator, it is essential to acknowledge that the management of VLANs within large networks featuring multiple interconnected switches can be a difficult and error-prone task. VTP allows centralized management of VLANs, enabling automatic distribution of the resulting configuration to other devices. The utilization of the VTP can lead to time efficiency and error prevention. In this blog, we will explain what is VTP in networking, its working, its benefits, and its drawbacks. 

What is VTP in networking? 

VTP full form in networking is VLAN Trunking protocol. VTP is a protocol that allows switches to exchange VLAN information and synchronize their VLAN configurations. VLANs are logical groups of devices that share the same broadcast domain and can communicate with each other without routing. VLANs help to improve network performance, security, and management. It’s not easy to create and maintain VLANs across multiple switches, that’s where VTP comes into action. VTP simplifies the process of creating and managing VLANs by propagating VLAN changes from one switch to all other switches in the same VTP domain. This way, network administrators only need to configure VLANs on one switch and let VTP do the rest. 

How does VTP work? 

VTP works by exchanging VTP messages between switches in the same VTP domain. A VTP domain is a group of switches that share the same VTP name and password. 

There are three types of VTP modes: 

  1. Server: In this mode, one can create, modify and delete VLANs on the switch, and these changes will be advertised to other switches in the domain. A server switch also stores the VLAN configuration in NVRAM; therefore, the information will not be lost if, by chance, it is rebooted. 
  1. Client: In this mode, the switch receives and sends VTP messages from other switches, but can’t create or modify VLANs. A client switch does not store the VLAN configuration in NVRAM, so it will lose the VLAN information if rebooted. 
  1. Transparent: In this mode, the switch does not participate in VTP but only sends the VTP messages to other switches. A transparent switch can have its own local VLAN database, which is independent of the VTP domain. 

The messages of VTP contain a numerical value. It denotes the configuration revision, serving as an indicator of the degree of revision for a given VTP packet. Upon modification of a server switch, the revision number is increased by a unit value and subsequently propagated to the remaining switches. However, In case a switch is presented with a VTP message containing a revision number that surpasses its own, And it will proceed to appropriately revise its VLAN database. If a switch is presented with a VTP message that has a revision number that is equal to or less than its own, it will ignore the message. 

There are three types of VTP messages: 

  1. Summary advertisements: These are sent every by each switch to announce its VTP domain name, password, mode, and revision number. 
  1. Subset advertisements: Moreover, these are sent by a server switch after a summary advertisement to provide detailed information about each VLAN, such as name, ID, and status. 
  1. Advertisement requests: These are sent by a switch that has lost its VLAN information or wants to synchronize with other switches in the domain. The switch will request a summary advertisement and then a subset of advertisements from another switch. 

Benefits of VTP 

VTP can provide several benefits for network administrators, such as: 

  • Reducing configuration errors and inconsistencies by centralizing VLAN management on server switches. 
  • Saving bandwidth and resources by pruning unnecessary broadcast traffic from trunks. 
  • Simplifying troubleshooting and monitoring by providing a consistent view of VLAN information across the network. 

Drawbacks of VTP 

VTP also has some drawbacks that need to be considered, such as: 

  • Increasing the risk of accidental or malicious changes to the VLAN database by unauthorized or misconfigured switches. 
  • Limiting sharing of information with non-Cisco devices that do not support VTP. 
  • Requiring careful planning and design of VTP domains and modes to avoid conflicts and loops. 


VTP full form in networking is VLAN Trunking Protocol. It is a useful tool for managing VLANs in a large network. In this blog, we have discussed what is VTP in networking, its working, benefits, and drawbacks. In simple terms, the VTP protocol is what enables Cisco switches to communicate with one another about VLAN configurations throughout the network. It is important to keep in mind that the VTP protocol is not an IEEE standard but rather a proprietary protocol. 

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Ahsan Khan
Ahsan Khan
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