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What is: extended VLAN range?

Extended VLANs are VLANs within the range of 1006 to 4094. They are mainly used in service provider networks to allow the provisioning of number of customers. In order to configure an extended VLAN you have to follow the guideline below:

  • Extended VLANs are used just like normal VLANs; only different range.
  • Extended VLANs must be configured on Switches that are in VTP Transparent mode only.
  • Extended VLANs can not be configured using VLAN database mode (only configuration mode).
  • Extended VLANs are saved in the configuration file.


SW1(config)#vtp mod transparent
Setting device to VTP TRANSPARENT mode.
SW1(config)#vlan 2001  !-- example in range


  1. Below is only true with VTP version 1 or 2.

    VTP version 3 supports extended vlans.

    “Extended VLANs must be configured on Switches that are in VTP Transparent mode only.”

  2. jst wastage of time

  3. hi sahil here,

    First of all, the normal range VLANs are 1-1005 inclusive. Starting with 1006 and going up to 4094 inclusive, these VLANs are called extended range VLANs by Cisco. VLANs 1002-1005 are reserved on Cisco switches for backward compatibility with old VLAN implementations in now-defunct link layer technologies and can not be used, deleted or modified. Also the VLAN 1 is an immutable and omnipresent VLAN. Apart from these 5 VLANs, however, all other VLAN IDs can safely by created and used. Personally, I do not agree with the field manual stating that the VLANs in the range 1001-1024 are reserved. To my experience, on all recent Catalyst platforms, only the VLANs 1, 1002-1005 are reserved. It is possible, however, that some other older IOS/CatOS implementations indeed considered the VLANs 1001-1024 as reserved – although it is not the way it works now, and I never stumbled across those.

    Regarding the maximum limit of 4094 VLANs on 802.1Q tagging: that is caused by the fact that the 802.1Q tag uses 12 bits for VLAN ID, hence 2^12 = 4096 unique IDs. VLAN ID 0 and 4095 are reserved by the standard, and VLANs 1-4094 are available for usage purposes according to the IEEE 802.1Q standard.
    That would allow for 2^15 = 32768 unique VLAN IDs, more than the 802.1Q. Why the original ISL implementation chose to support only VLAN 1-1005 – I do not know for sure. In my understanding, it was simply an implementor’s choice. At the time, the limit of 1005 unique VLAN IDs was most probably deemed sufficient (note that the maximum number of concurrent VLANs was considerably lower – at most 64 or so). When the 802.1Q standard came, quite a few years later, it defined the range to be up to 4094, and because it was the official standard, Cisco extended the numbering into the so-called extended range, and that was it. Considering the fact that 802.1Q is the standard and ISL is spoken only by Cisco devices, there was obviously little point in extending the ISL to support 2^15 VLANs though technically possible.

    So that would be my personal unofficial explanation. But still, I would like very much a Cisco person to share his/her own view of this. Francois Tallet, Matt Blanshard, anyone – where are you guys?

    Best regards,
    Sahil Choudhary

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