Rethinking Layer 2: The Role of RSTP and MSTP in Junos


Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) has long served as the backbone for preventing loop conditions in Layer 2 networks. However, as networks grew in complexity and demands, evolved versions like Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) and Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP) emerged. Within the environment of Junos OS, understanding these protocols is essential for creating resilient, high-performance Ethernet networks. This post takes a deep dive into RSTP and MSTP and their implementation within Junos.

1. Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP)

RSTP (IEEE 802.1w) is an evolution of the original STP that provides faster convergence.

Key Features:

Configuration in Junos:

Activate RSTP globally:

user@switch# set protocols rstp

2. Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP)

MSTP (IEEE 802.1s) extends RSTP to include multiple spanning-tree instances within a single physical topology.

Key Features:

Configuration in Junos:

Activate MSTP globally:

user@switch# set protocols mstp

Map VLANs to an MSTP instance:

user@switch# set protocols mstp configuration-name [name]
user@switch# set protocols mstp msti 1 vlan [list-of-vlans]

3. RSTP vs. MSTP: When to Use Which?

4. Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Display Spanning-Tree Information:


user@switch> show spanning-tree interface


user@switch> show spanning-tree mstp

Best Practices:

  1. Consistent Configuration: Ensure consistent protocol usage across the network. Avoid mixing STP, RSTP, and MSTP unless there's inter-operability planned.
  2. Use Bridge Priorities: Assign priorities to ensure a designated switch becomes the root bridge.
  3. Stay Updated: Always keep Junos OS updated to benefit from the latest stability and security patches related to spanning-tree protocols.


While the basic tenet of spanning-tree protocols remains the loop prevention in Layer 2 networks, choosing between RSTP and MSTP in Junos OS requires a nuanced understanding of the network's demands and the features each protocol offers.

Network resiliency is a journey, not a destination. As you continue to explore and optimize your network, remember the foundational role spanning-tree protocols play in ensuring network stability. Dive deeper with us into Junos OS in upcoming posts. Happy networking!

© Ben Jacobson.RSS