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RSTP Convergence and Synchronization

The convergence of STP has two main stages:

Unlike STP where convergence takes time, RSTP takes a different approach when a switch needs
to decide how to participate in the tree topology. RSTP makes its forwarding decisions base on
the type of port on switches.
RSTP convergence is called a propagation of handshakes over pointtopoint links with its
nearest neighbors. This handshake se!"ence is often described as a wave as it is moving from
top switch to the ne#t switch and the ne#t, "ntil reaches the network$s edges. %ach handshake
m"st be s"ccessf"l in order to propagate to ne#t switch.
&owever, each handshake se!"ence invokes another process called a synchroni'ation process.
(hen synchroni'ation steps are completed, switch ends its handshake se!"ence and process
moves to the ne#t switch.
Note: To understand Sync process make sure you know RSTP port types.
When a switch receives a proposal message on a port, the following
sequence of events occurs
1. If the proposals sender has a superior BPDU, the local switch realizes that
the sender should be the designated switch having the designated port! and
that its own port must become the new root port"
2. Before the switch agrees to an#thing, it must s#nchronize itself with the
3. $ll nonedge ports immediatel# are moved into the Discarding bloc%ing!
state so that no bridging loops can form"
4. $n agreement message a con&guration BPDU! is sent bac% to the sender,
indicating that the
switch is in agreement with the new designated port choice" 'his also tells
the sender that
the switch is in the process of s#nchronizing itself"
5. 'he root port immediatel# is moved to the (orwarding state" 'he senders
port also
immediatel# can begin forwarding"
6. )or each nonedge port that is c"rrently in the *iscarding state, a proposal message is sent to
the respective neighbor.
7. +n agreement message is e#pected and received from a neighbor on a nonedge port.
,. The nonedge port immediately is moved to the )orwarding state.
-otice that the RSTP convergence begins with a switch sending a proposal message. The
recipient of the proposal m"st synchroni'e itself by effectively isolating itself from the rest of the
+ll nonedge ports are blocked "ntil a proposal message can be sent, ca"sing the nearest
neighbors to synchroni'e themselves. This creates a moving .wave/ of synchroni'ing switches,
which !"ickly can decide to start forwarding on their links only if their neighbors agree.
0solating the switches along the traveling wave inherently prevents bridging loops.
The entire convergence process happens !"ickly, at the speed of 1P*U transmission, witho"t the
"se of any timers. &owever, a designated port that sends a proposal message might not receive
an agreement message reply. S"ppose that the neighboring switch does not "nderstand RSTP or
has a problem replying. The sending switch then m"st become overly ca"tio"s and m"st begin
playing by the ,23.4* r"les5the port m"st be moved thro"gh the legacy 6istening and 6earning
states 7"sing the )orward *elay timer8 before moving to the )orwarding state.
&"caby, *. CCNP BCMSN Certification Guide 642-812. 9isco Press, 322:, ;