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A Dependable Alternative to the Spanning Tree Protocol

Lopes, J.L. ; Sargento, S. ; Zúquete, A.

A Dependable Alternative to the Spanning Tree Protocol, Proc European Workshop on Dependable Computing - EWDC, Coimbra, Portugal, Vol. LNCS 7869, pp. 148 - 164, May, 2013.

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The Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) is known to have stability problems and poor convergence intervals. Several protocols and variants exist targeting the replacement of STP variants, most of them proprietary and with limited scope of operation. The recent protocols, IETF TRILL and IEEE SPB, target mainly data center networks, are based on complex concepts, require great processing power from switches and huge investment in new gear.

In this paper we propose Self-Configurable Switches Protocol (SCS) as an alternative to all these protocols. It has the following advantages: it is configuration-free, thus less vulnerable to human mistakes; it enhances the network stability and performance when comparing with STP; and it is suitable to the range of equipment and networks that typically run STP variants, minimizing the need for potential large investments required by TRILL and SPB. This paper describes the main characteristics, processes and mechanisms of SCS, presents some lab and simulation experiments with STP and SCS, and provides demonstrations that SCS provides a more reliable service than STP variants, and a more cost effective alternative to TRILL and SPB network dependability.