Q

Building Provider Backbone Bridging networks without spanning tree?

IP expert Ivan Pepelnjak lays out several imperfect-but-workable approaches to building a Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB) network without spanning tree.

Can you build a Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB) network without spanning tree?

There are several approaches to this problem, and none of them are perfect.

You can design your network in a hierarchical tree structure using multi-chassis link aggregation to make redundant links appear as part of the same link aggregation group. In this solution, you would still run spanning tree, but as the network would look like a perfect tree, the spanning tree would have no impact on the network.

Alternatively, you can try to use Provider Backbone Bridging Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE, 802.1Qay), where the paths across the network are configured statically from the network management station.

The ideal solution to this problem is shortest-path bridging (turning bridging into an almost-routing technology), implemented with 802.1aq or TRILL.

This was first published in January 2011

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