Blog posts

STP Link Manipulation

Submitted by rayc on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 09:15

By default STP works straight out of the box. You buy a switch and plug it in and boom STP works. Well, 802.1D (PVST if using Cisco Switches) works by default. While PVST is great, it's slow so we would configure it for PVRSTP or MST. Again, these work straight away and by default will choose which ports are forwarding and which are blocking. But what if we want to manually choose one link over another? To do this, we first need to understand what we want to change and how the port election process works. 

Root Port selection

RSTP Link Failure

Submitted by rayc on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 09:13

I've talked a little about STP link failures in previous articles, but let's take a deeper dive into what STP does during the various STP failure scenario's. There are two types of link failures that can occur in a Layer 2 STP topology. 

  1. Direct Link Failure: This is when a physical link fails and the port state changes to down.
  2. Indirect Link Failure: This is when there is not a physical failure, but there is no data flow over the link. 



Submitted by rayc on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 09:13

PVRSTP+ or Per VLAN Rapid Spanning Tree Plus is a Cisco Proprietary extension of the Rapid Spanning Tree protocol that, like PVSTP runs a single RSPT instance per VLAN configured on the switch. 802.1W RSTP is an improvement on 802.1D STP in that it allows for much faster transition between port states with modifications to the port states, and also with the addition of some port roles and types. 

802.1W Port States, Roles and Types

802.1W RSTP reduces the number of port states from 802.1D to 3.


Submitted by rayc on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 09:12

PVSTP+ is an improved version of the Cisco proprietary Spanning Tree protocol PVST that runs an instance of STP per VLAN. The main difference between PVST and PVST+ is that PVST+ provides support for compatibility with other STP versions and operates over 802.1Q trunks as well as ISL Trunks. Running an STP instance per VLAN gives you the ability to not only fine tune the STP tree based on where VLANs are in use, but also load balance VLANs across multiple Root Bridges.

The Trees of Networking

Submitted by rayc on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 09:12

Spanning Tree is a mechanism for Layer 2 switches to prevent switching loops over redundant switch links. Switches learn about other switches in the network and the ports they are connected to by sending out Bridge Protocol Data Units (BPDU), advertising STP information. These BPDUs are used to determine which switch ports should forward traffic and which switch ports should block traffic. In a simple 3 Switch topology as shown below, SW1 connects to SW2 on G1/0/2 and SW3 on G1/0/3, SW2 Connects to SW1 on G1/0/1, and SW3 on G1/0/3, and SW3 Connects to SW1 on G1/0/1 and SW2 on G1/0/2.

Data Encapsulation

Submitted by rayc on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 09:09

Let's start with the basics of how Network engineers explain how data traverses the network. When you click on the browser, or open a web page, or send an email on your PC, data is send over the network medium whether it be via copper, fiber, or wireless. At it's most basic form, all data is sent as little electrical pulses of 1's or 0's. But how does that web page go from words and pictures and CSS etc to those 1's and 0's? The answer of course is Data Encapsulation/Decapsulation. 

CCNP Recertification

Submitted by administrator on Fri, 10/22/2021 - 19:24

So like many others (I'm hoping I wasn't the only one at least) I let my Cisco certifications expire during COVID. Partially because I wasn't ready to redo any of the CCNP exams, although I probably could have done the TSHOOT exam, and partially because I was lazy and COVID was here and it was too hard. That was back in 2019 and now I have no current Cisco certifications.