Information about BackboneFast
BackboneFast is initiated when a root port or blocked port on a network device receives inferior BPDUs from its designated bridge. An inferior BPDU identifies one network device as both the root bridge and the designated bridge. When a network device receives an inferior BPDU, it indicates that a link to which the network device is not directly connected (an indirect link) has failed (that is, the designated bridge has lost its connection to the root bridge). Under normal STP rules, the network device ignores inferior BPDUs for the configured maximum aging time, as specified by the STP max-age command.
The network device tries to determine if it has an alternate path to the root bridge. If the inferior BPDU arrives on a blocked port, the root port and other blocked ports on the network device become alternate paths to the root bridge. (Self-looped ports are not considered alternate paths to the root bridge.) If the inferior BPDU arrives on the root port, all blocked ports become alternate paths to the root bridge. If the inferior BPDU arrives on the root port and there are no blocked ports, the network device assumes that it has lost connectivity to the root bridge, causes the maximum aging time on the root to expire, and becomes the root bridge according to normal STP rules.
If the network device has alternate paths to the root bridge, it uses these alternate paths to transmit a new kind of Protocol Data Unit (PDU) called the Root Link Query PDU. The network device sends the Root Link Query PDU out all alternate paths to the root bridge. If the network device determines that it still has an alternate path to the root, it causes the maximum aging time to expire on the ports on which it received the inferior BPDU. If all the alternate paths to the root bridge indicate that the network device has lost connectivity to the root bridge, the network device causes the maximum aging times on the ports on which it received an inferior BPDU to expire. If one or more alternate paths can still connect to the root bridge, the network device makes all ports on which it received an inferior BPDU its designated ports and moves them out of the blocking state (if they were in the blocking state), through the listening and learning states, and into the forwarding state.
Figure 2-7 shows an example topology with no link failures. Switch A, the root bridge, connects directly to Switch B over link L1 and to Switch C over link L2. The Layer 2 LAN interface on Switch C that connects directly to Switch B is in the blocking state.
Figure 2-7 BackboneFast Example Before Indirect Link Failure
If link L1 fails, Switch C cannot detect this failure because it is not connected directly to link L1. However, because Switch B is directly connected to the root bridge over L1, it detects the failure and elects itself the root and begins sending BPDUs to Switch C indicating itself as the root. When Switch C receives the inferior BPDUs from Switch B, Switch C infers that an indirect failure has occurred. At that point, BackboneFast allows the blocked port on Switch C to move immediately to the listening state without waiting for the maximum aging time for the port to expire. BackboneFast then transitions the Layer 2 LAN interface on Switch C to the forwarding state, providing a path from Switch B to Switch A. This switchover takes approximately 30 seconds, twice the Forward Delay time if the default Forward Delay time of 15 seconds is set. Figure 2-8 shows how BackboneFast reconfigures the topology to account for the failure of link L1.
Figure 2-8 BackboneFast Example After Indirect Link Failure
If a new network device is introduced into a shared-medium topology as shown in Figure 2-9, BackboneFast is not activated because the inferior BPDUs did not come from the recognized designated bridge (Switch B). The new network device begins sending inferior BPDUs that indicate that it is the root bridge. However, the other network devices ignore these inferior BPDUs and the new network device learns that Switch B is the designated bridge to Switch A, the root bridge.
Figure 2-9 Adding a Network Device in a Shared-Medium Topology