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BPDU Guard Explained: What is it? Why do we need it?

In networking, there are a variety of important protocols that help devices communicate with each other. One such protocol is called the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which helps manage the flow of traffic on a network.

There is an optional feature of STP called BPDU Guard, which we'll explain in this post.

Let's take a closer look!

Before Explaining BPDU Guard: What is the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)?

The Spanning Tree Protocol, or STP, is a network protocol that helps to prevent network loops in a switch infrastructure. Without STP, packet traffic would continually circulate through the network, causing it to crash. 

STP works by creating a loop-free logical topology and selectively blocking ports to eliminate potential loop paths. This allows for redundant links in the network while preventing harmful loops from forming. STP operates at the data link layer of the OSI model and can be useful for both Ethernet and non-Ethernet networks. 

In addition to STP, there are other protocols that serve similar functionality, such as Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) and Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP). Understanding the basics of STP is essential before diving into topics like BPDU Guard, which builds upon and enhances the functionality of STP in certain scenarios.

BPDU Guard: What is it?

BPDU Guard is a security feature found in multiple networking devices. It helps to prevent attacks on a network by blocking Bridge Protocol Data Units (BPDUs) that are sent from unauthorized devices. BPDUs are used in the Spanning Tree Protocol, which helps to create a loop-free network, but they can also be used for malicious purposes. 

When BPDU Guard is enabled, it will immediately disable any port that receives a BPDU, reducing the risk of attacks on the network. In order for this feature to work properly, it should only be enabled on edge ports or those that connect to external networks, as disabling BPDUs on internal ports can disrupt communication within the network itself. Generally speaking, it is recommended to enable BPDU Guard as an added layer of security for your network.

BDPU Guard vs. BDPU Filter: What is the difference?

The main difference between BDPU Guard and BDPU Filter is their function. BDPU Guard is a system that actively defends against malicious attacks, while BDPU Filter acts as a preventative measure by blocking unauthorized access to certain websites or networks.

In simpler terms, BDPU Guard acts like a bodyguard fighting off threats, while BDPU Filter functions more like a locked door barring entry to unwanted visitors. Both approaches serve a valuable purpose in protecting against cybersecurity threats, and many businesses choose to implement both measures for maximum security.

However, it's important to note that no security system is impenetrable; regular updates and monitoring are necessary to ensure the continued protection of valuable data and resources.

To sum up

As you can see, BPDU Guard is a powerful tool that can help protect your network from potential attacks. While it’s not a silver bullet, it’s an important part of any layered security approach.

If you have questions about deploying BPDU Guard in your own environment or want to learn more about networking best practices, you must check this course to learn everything about this topic.

Created by
Stanley Arvey

I am a certified network engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. I have a deep understanding of networking and IT security, and I am always looking for new challenges.

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