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Difference Between Trunk Port and Access Port

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When it comes to networking, two terms that are “access port” and “trunk port” arises in our mind. They both sound familiar but both of these types have different functions. Trunk Port and Access Port, both terms are related to CISCO. Access Port is a port that is assigned to a single VLAN whereas Trunk Port is a port in which it is assigned to multiple VLANs. Let’s see in what aspects they differ.

Trunk Port

A trunk port is a port, which is used to connect to another switch or router. It is a link that carries many signals simultaneously. Basically, it can transmit data from multiple VLANs. It uses tags in order to allow signals to get to the correct endpoint. Trunk Port offers higher bandwidth and lower latency. The Trunking takes place in layer 2 of the OSI model, which is known as the “data link layer”. The device uses the IEEE 802.1Q encapsulation or tagging method, in order to correctly deliver the traffic on a trunk port with several VLANs.


  1. It offers higher bandwidth and lower latency.
  2. It sends all signals across a single trunk link which is for each switch or router.
  3. It can carry traffic for several VLANs simultaneously. 


  1. It is quite complex to set up when compared with the Access port.
Truk port


Access Port

The access port is a type of port that is like a type of connection on a switch that provides the virtual machines with connectivity via a switch or VLAN. Basically, it transmits data to and from a specific/single VLAN. This doesn’t cause signal issues because the frames remain within the same VLAN.  For complex networks, it is not that efficient to work with. One can configure the port as a host port, to optimize the performance of the access port.


  1. It sends and receives frames that aren’t tagged.
  2. There are no signal issues in the access port as the frame remains in a single VLAN.
  3. To decrease the time it takes the designated port to begin to forward packets, use the host port.


  1. It can carry traffic for only one VLAN.
  2. Only an end station can be set as a host port.
Access port


Difference between Trunk Port and Access Port

Parameters Trunk Port Access Port
VLAN assignment It supports multiple VLANs. It supports a single VLAN.
Tags Multiple VLANs are allowed to traverse and add tags. Single VLAN is allowed to traverse and removes tags.
Purpose It connects switches or routers together. It connects end devices to the network.

It uses encapsulation protocol which are

  • ISL 
  • 802.1Q

It uses only one encapsulation protocol-

  • IEEE 802.1Q.
VLAN tagging It supports VLAN tagging. It does not support VLAN tagging.
Bandwidth In Trunk Port, bandwidth is high. In Access Port, bandwidth is low as compared to Trunk Port.
Broadcast domain It allows segmentation into separate broadcast domains. Traffic is part of the same broadcast domain.
Voice VLAN Voice VLAN is a feature that is not supported in Trunk Port. Voice VLAN is the feature that is supported in Access Port.
Frames It supports tagged frames It supports untagged frames.
Ideal for It is ideal for larger networks with multiple VLANs that are basically used to connect between the switches. It is ideal for connecting end-user devices to the network and is used to connect laptops, printers, computers, etc.

The main and basic use of these both the trunk port and access port is to move traffic between VLANs. The user can carry more than one VLAN traffic from one switch to another switch with Trunk Port whereas data is transmitted simultaneously with Access Port. Both ports have their own pros and cons and it all depends on the user to select which port according to their own requirement.

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Last Updated : 16 Feb, 2023
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