This weeks edition – the spanning tree protocol and a Netgear GS108T “smart” switch.
For those of you not familiar with STP – and I include myself in that category until about 24 hours ago – it’s a system that allows switches to have multiple redundant paths to the same device. In old fashioned networking (I.E. when I was a lad) this was a very bad idea as it led to a broadcast storm, or a feedback loop as us TV engineering types understand. STP solves all this by shutting down multiple looped paths.
As our home IT networks become more complex the possibility of layer two loops becomes more likely. Mine reared it’s ugly head as a result of connecting multiple Sonos clients to a new Netgear GS108T switch. I thought I was going to improve reliability – I ended up bringing the whole network to its knees because I created a loop between the Sonos mesh network and the wired GIG-e. The solution? Enable STP on the switch allowing the Sonos components to “see” each other and everything came good.