Fast Convergence for Designated Ports RSTP protocol's fast convergence depends on the use of point-to-point links connecting switches. In order to quickly transition a designated port into non-discarding state, the upstream switch needs to make sure that the downstream neighbor agrees with that idea. This constitutes the process known as handshake (or proposal/agreement): Upstream bridge sends a proposal out of a designated port. As a matter of fact, it just sets the proposal bit in outgoing... Read More
Note: You may want to read a newer blog post on MSTP here Understanding MSTP Read More
Cisco switches run different types of STP protocol, depending on whether the connected port is access, ISL trunk or 802.1q trunk. Natively, Cisco switch runs a separate STP instance for each configured and active VLAN (this is called Per-VLAN Spanning Tree or PVST) and standard IEEE compliant switches run just one instance of STP shared by all VLANs. Due to that reason, a group of switches running IEEE compatible STP protocol is called MST (Mono Spanning Tree) region, not to be confused with... Read More

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