As we discussed in the essay on learning bridges, one of the guiding principles in transparent bridge design was that the bridges be as automatic as possible.
The Spanning Tree Algorithm is a means by which bridges can eliminate loops in the network topology. A bridging loop occurs when packets can get from an arbitrary point A on the network to an arbitrary point B on the same network through more than one path. For an example of a simple bridging loop, imagine a network with two stations, Station A and Station B, and two bridges, Bridge 1 and Bridge 2. For the sake of clarity, we will also divide the network into two halves, the top half and the bottom half. Station A is connected to the top half of the network and Station B is connected to the bottom half of the network. Both Bridge 1 and Bridge 2 connect the top and bottom halves of the network (See Fig. 1). This is a bridging loop because packets coming from Station A to Station B can pass through either Bridge 1 or Bridge 2.
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