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RSTP Questions

February 6th, 2017 Go to comments

Question 1

Explanation

There are only three port states left in RSTP that correspond to the three possible operational states. The 802.1D blocking, and listening states are merged into the 802.1w discarding state.

* Discarding – the port does not forward frames, process received frames, or learn MAC addresses – but it does listen for BPDUs (like the STP blocking state)
* Learning – receives and transmits BPDUs and learns MAC addresses but does not yet forward frames (same as STP).
* Forwarding – receives and sends data, normal operation, learns MAC address, receives and transmits BPDUs (same as STP).

STP State (802.1d) RSTP State (802.1w)
Blocking Discarding
Listening Discarding
Learning Learning
Forwarding Forwarding

Although the learning state is also used in RSTP but it only takes place for a short time as compared to STP. RSTP converges with all ports either in forwarding state or discarding state.

Question 2

Explanation

The question says “no other configuration changes have been made” so we can understand these switches have the same bridge priority. Switch C has lowest MAC address so it will become root bridge and 2 of its ports (Fa0/1 & Fa0/2) will be designated ports -> E is incorrect.

Because SwitchC is the root bridge so the 2 ports nearest SwitchC on SwitchA (Fa0/1) and SwitchD (Gi0/2) will be root ports -> B and F are correct.

Now we come to the most difficult part of this question: SwitchB must have a root port so which port will it choose? To answer this question we need to know about STP cost and port cost.

In general, “cost” is calculated based on bandwidth of the link. The higher the bandwidth on a link, the lower the value of its cost. Below are the cost values you should memorize:

Link speed Cost
10Mbps 100
100Mbps 19
1 Gbps 4

SwitchB will choose the interface with lower cost to the root bridge as the root port so we must calculate the cost on interface Gi0/1 & Gi0/2 of SwitchB to the root bridge. This can be calculated from the “cost to the root bridge” of each switch because a switch always advertises its cost to the root bridge in its BPDU. The receiving switch will add its local port cost value to the cost in the BPDU.

In the exhibit you also we FastEthernet port is connecting to GigabitEthernet port. In this case GigabitEthernet port will operate as a FastEthernet port so the link can be considered as FastEthernet to FastEthernet connection.

One more thing to notice is that a root bridge always advertises the cost to the root bridge (itself) with an initial value of 0.

Now let’s have a look at the topology again

RSPT_port_states_explanation.jpg

SwitchC advertises its cost to the root bridge with a value of 0. Switch D adds 19 (the cost value of 100Mbps link although the port on Switch D is GigabitEthernet port) and advertises this value (19) to SwitchB. SwitchB adds 4 (the cost value of 1Gbps link) and learns that it can reach SwitchC via Gi0/1 port with a total cost of 23. The same process happens for SwitchA and SwitchB learns that it can reach SwitchC via Gi0/2 with a total cost of 38 -> Switch B chooses Gi0/1 as its root port -> D is not correct.

Now our last task is to identify the port roles of the ports between SwitchA & SwitchB. It is rather easy as the MAC address of SwitchA is lower than that of SwitchB so Fa0/2 of SwitchA will be designated port while Gi0/2 of SwitchB will be alternative port -> A is correct but C is not correct.

Below summaries all the port roles of these switches:

RSPT_port_roles.jpg

+ DP: Designated Port (forwarding state)
+ RP: Root Port (forwarding state)
+ AP: Alternative Port (blocking state)

Question 3

Explanation

IEEE 802.1w is Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP). There are only three port states left in RSTP that correspond to the three possible operational states. The 802.1D disabled, blocking, and listening states are merged into the 802.1w discarding state.

* Discarding – the port does not forward frames, process received frames, or learn MAC addresses – but it does listen for BPDUs (like the STP blocking state)
* Learning – receives and transmits BPDUs and learns MAC addresses but does not yet forward frames (same as STP).
* Forwarding – receives and sends data, normal operation, learns MAC address, receives and transmits BPDUs (same as STP).

Question 4

Explanation

RSTP only has 3 port states that are discarding, learning and forwarding. When RSTP has converged there are only 2 port states left: discarding and forwarding.

Question 5

Comments (2) Comments
  1. Ttepi
    February 16th, 2017

    Q2. Although the answer is correct, the diagram solution is not. The links between A and B and between C and D will auto-negotiate to FastEthernet (cost 19). Only the link between B and D is a true Gigabit link (cost 4).

  2. okc_dsm
    February 17th, 2017

    Why are the questions not showing?