Spanning Tree Protocol

Abbreviated STP, a link management protocol that is part of the IEEE 802.1 standard for media access control bridges. Using the spanning tree algorithm, STP provides path redundancy while preventing undesirable loops in a network that are created by multiple active paths between stations. Loops occur when there are alternate routes between hosts. To establish path redundancy, STP creates a tree that spans all of the switches in an extended network, forcing redundant paths into a standby, or blocked, state. STP allows only one active path at a time between any two network devices (this prevents the loops) but establishes the redundant links as a backup if the initial link should fail. If STP costs change, or if one network segment in the STP becomes unreachable, the spanning tree algorithm reconfigures the spanning tree topology and reestablishes the link by activating the standby path. Without spanning tree in place, it is possible that both connections may be simultaneously live, which could result in an endless loop of traffic on the LAN.

Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1559 Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

List of Windows Operating System Versions & History [In Order]

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Generations of Computers (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management tool designed to help its users manage...

Glassdoor

Glassdoor is an online job search and review platform for people seeking new...

GitLab

GitLab is a DevOps platform where software development and IT operations teams collaborate...