As Ethernet was evolving from a single shared cable to networks with multiple bridges and hubs, a loop detection and prevention protocol was needed. The 802.1d protocol, developed by Radia Perlman, provided this loop protection. As a matter of fact, it did such a good job at this that when most netwooks went from bridged networks to switched networks, the importance of spanning tree was almost forgotten. STP did an excellent job of preventing loops from occurring on redundanf switched networks. For many network engineers, this protocol ran in the background on their networks without manual configuration. Because of this, spanning tree is probably the most used but: least: und erstood protocol in the modern switched LAN. Over the next few years, you might see LANs start to migrate from IEEE 802.1d STP to IEEE 802.1w Rapid STP. IEEE 802.1w networks allow for very quick convergence, using concepts originally developed by Cisco) Systems, such as PortFast, UplinkFast, and BackboneFast. This section focuses on IEEE 802.1d STP; IEEE 802.1w and IEEE 802.1s are discussed in upcoming sections.
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