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Cisco® Networking All-in-One For Dummies® by Edward Tetz

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Chapter 6: Adding Fault Tolerance with STP

In This Chapter

check.png Examining the basic role of STP on your network

check.png Setting up STP on your network

check.png Troubleshooting and debugging STP on your network

A network segment is allowed to be only so long from end to end, because there is a required limit to how long it takes for the collision notification. If you create a network loop, which can happen accidentally, a problem will occur on the network as soon as a piece of data is sent on the network. The data is sent in a never-ending loop until the switch is crushed under the volume of data that it is attempting to forward to its destination, even though it is the same packet, again, and again, and again. If this data is broadcast data, it will span the entire network segment, regardless of how many switches make up the network.

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) created a protocol to deal with this problem and called it Spanning Tree Protocol or STP, and IEEE published it as a standard called 802.1D. This protocol has been improved multiple times over the years, mostly to deal with shortening the time it takes for the protocol to respond to changes on the network.

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