IEEE’s 802.1Q VLAN tagging is the industry standard. Inter-Switch Link (ISL) is a Cisco proprietary VLAN tagging protocol and if you have networking devices from different vendors, IEEE’s 802.1Q VLAN tagging must be used for interoperability.

Inter-Switch Link (ISL) encapsulates an Ethernet Frame with ISL header and FCS but IEEE 802.1Q uses an internal tagging process by inserting the VLAN tagging information inside Ethernet Frame. This method of tagging is known as internal tagging.

802.1Q trunks support tagged and untagged Ethernet frames. An untagged Ethernet frame is a standard unaltered Ethernet frame. Untagged Ethernet frames are usually used for native VLAN communication. If a switch receives untagged Ethernet frames on a trunk port, they are considered as part of the native VLAN and frames from a native VLAN access port are not tagged when exiting the switch via a native VLAN trunk port.

In a tagged 802.1Q Ethernet frame, a 4-byte field is inserted between the original Ethernet frame Source Address field and the Type or Length field. FCS is recomputed after the 4-byte tag is inserted. Following figure shows 802.1Q tagged Ethernet frame.

Following are the fields in a 802.1Q VLAN tag. 

• TPID (Tag Protocol Identifier, 16 bits): TPID (Tag Protocol Identifier) is all inclusive and dependably have an estimation of 0x8100 to connote a 802.1Q tag.

• Priority (3 bits): The Priority field is utilized by 802.1Q to actualize Layer 2 nature of administration (QoS).

• CFI (Canonical Format Identifier, 1 bit): The CFI (Canonical Format Identifier) bit is utilized for similarity purposes amongst Ethernet and Token Ring.

• VLAN ID (12 bits): The VID field is utilized to recognize VLANs on the connection.

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