Het Spanning Tree Protocol (STP – IEEE 802.1D) wordt gebruikt om redundantie van paden in een netwerktopologie te beheersen. Om netwerken sneller en robuuster te maken worden verbindingen vaak redundant uitgevoerd. Omdat dit kan leiden tot dubbele pakketten wordt het STP gebruikt.

The Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) is a network protocol that builds a loop-free logical topology for Ethernet networks. The basic function of STP is to prevent bridge loops and the broadcast radiation that results from them. Spanning tree also allows a network design to include backup links to provide fault tolerance if an active link fails.

As the name suggests, STP creates a spanning tree within a network of connected layer-2 bridges, and disables those links that are not part of the spanning tree, leaving a single active path between any two network nodes. STP is based on an algorithm that was invented by Radia Perlman while she was working for Digital Equipment Corporation.[1][2]

In 2001, the IEEE introduced Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) as 802.1w. RSTP provides significantly faster recovery in response to network changes or failures, introducing new convergence behaviors and bridge port roles to do this. RSTP was designed to be backwards-compatible with standard STP.

STP was originally standardized as IEEE 802.1D but the functionality of spanning tree (802.1D), rapid spanning tree (802.1w), and multiple spanning tree (802.1s) has since been incorporated into IEEE 802.1Q-2014.[3]

The need for the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) arose because switches in local area networks (LANs) are often interconnected using redundant links to improve resilience should one connection fail.[4] However, this connection configuration creates switching loop resulting in broadcast radiations and forwarding information base instability.[5] If redundant links are used to connect switches, then switching loops need to be avoided.[6]

To avoid the problems associated with redundant links in a switched LAN, STP is implemented on switches to monitor the network topology. Every link between switches, and in particular redundant links, are catalogued. STP then disables redundant links by setting up one preferred link between switches in the LAN. This preferred link is used for all Ethernet frames unless it fails, in which case the non-preferred redundant link is enabled. When implemented in a network, STP designates one layer-2 switch as root bridge. On this root bridge the preferred and non-preferred links are calculated. The root bridge switch constantly communicates with the other switches in the LAN using Bridge Protocol Data Units (BPDUs).[5]

Data rateSTP costRSTP cost[7]:154
(Link Bandwidth)(802.1D-1998)(802.1W-2004, default value)
4 Mbit/s2505,000,000
10 Mbit/s1002,000,000
16 Mbit/s621,250,000
100 Mbit/s19200,000
1 Gbit/s420,000
2 Gbit/s310,000
10 Gbit/s22,000
100 Gbit/sN/A200
1 Tbit/sN/A20

After link failure the spanning tree algorithm computes and spans new least-cost tree.

Provided there is more than one link between two switches, the STP root bridge calculates the cost of each path based on bandwidth. STP will select the path with the lowest cost, that is the highest bandwidth, as the preferred link. STP will enable this preferred link as the only path to be used for Ethernet frames between the two switches, and disable all other possible links by designating the switch ports that connect the preferred path as root port.[8] The STP path cost default was originally calculated by the formula 1 Gbit/s/bandwidth. When faster speeds became available, the default values were adjusted as otherwise speeds above 1 Gbit/s would have been indistinguishable by STP. Its successor RSTP uses a similar formula with a larger numerator: 20 Tbit/s/bandwidth. These formulas lead to the sample values in the table on the right:[7]:154

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