What Does Trunking Mean?

Trunking is a technique used in data communications transmission systems to provide many users with access to a network by sharing multiple lines or frequencies. As the name implies, the system is like a tree with one trunk and many branches. Trunking is commonly used in very-high-frequency (VHF) radio and telecommunication systems.


Trunking can also be defined as a network that handles multiple signals simultaneously. The data transmitted through trunking can be audio, video, controlling signals or images.

Telecommunication networks all across the globe are based on trunking. Trunking reduces the size of a telecom network and increases bandwidth. VHF radio used by police and control centers is also based on trunking.

Techopedia Explains Trunking

There has been a rapid development in data communications over the past few years, including the creation of the concept of trunking. Users share connections with each other where trunking is applied so the connections are less dense and more understandable. Trunking uses communication media in parallel with increased bandwidth and communication speed.

Trunking is the mechanism used to form an internetwork, or Internet, comprised of local area networks (LANs), virtual LANS (VLANs) or wide area networks (WANs). The switches are interconnected to establish these networks using trunking. Trunking is not limited to any medium since its main purpose is to maximize the bandwidth available in any type of network.

Cisco networks have trunk ports and access ports. The trunk port allows traffic to be carried for either all of the VLANs or any of the VLANs. The access ports, however, allow traffic to be carried to a specified VLAN only. The trunk ports use the tagging process while carrying data. Each tag is checked by a switch to analyze which switch will receive the traffic. Access ports do not have a tag because they carry or transmit data to a specific VLAN.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…