CCIE 400-101: Layer 2 Technologies - PortFast, BPDU Guard, BPDU Filter


  • The PortFast feature was originally developed to overcome a situation where a PC was unable to obtain a DHCP address due to the port failing to transition into the forwarding state in time. 
  • This results from STP going through the listening and learning states, which would normally take 30 seconds. 
  • The PortFast feature allows the port to enter the forwarding state immediately, bypassing the listening and learning states.
  • Besides immediately transitioning the port to the forwarding state, PortFast provides another advantage: the switch will not generate a topology change notification for ports with PortFast enabled.
  • Should be configured only on edge ports connecting to end devices.
  • A PortFast enabled port will continue to transmit BPDUs and participate in STP.
  • If the port receives BPDUs, the PortFast feature is disabled.
  • Two ways to enable PortFast: globally (spanning-tree portfast default) or per interface (spanning-tree portfast).
  • Both commands enable PortFast on operational access ports.
  • To enable PortFast on both access and trunk ports, use the spanning-tree portfast trunk command.

BPDU Guard

  • BPDU guard prevents a port from receiving BPDUs.
  • If the port still receives a BPDU, it is put in the error-disabled state.
  • Much like the PortFast feature, BPDU Guard has two configuration options: globally (spanning-tree portfast bpduguard default) and per interface (spanning-tree bpduguard enable).
  • If configured globally, BPDU Guard is dependent on the operational PortFast state.
  • The per interface configuration unconditionally enables BPDU Guard on the port, independent of PortFast or access/trunk mode.
  • There are two ways to recover an err-disabled port, either by manually re-enabling with shutdown and no shutdown commands or by configuring automatic err-disable recovery with errdisable recovery cause bpduguard. 

BPDU Filter

  • BPDU Filter prevents specified ports from sending or receiving BPDUs.
  • Again, there are two methods to configure this feature: globally (spanning-tree portfast bpdufilter default) and per interface (spanning-tree bpdufilter enable). 
  • The interface configuration filters both incoming and outgoing BPDUs unconditionally – independent of the operational PortFast state or access/trunk mode. This is effectively the equivalent of turning off STP.
  • The global BPDU Filter is enabled on interfaces in operational PortFast state. 
  • In global mode, the switch does not filter incoming BPDUs, but most (though not all) outgoing BPDUs are filtered. When a port comes up, 11 BPDUs are sent out. 
  • If BPDUs are received, the PortFast and BPDU Filter features are disabled.


  • PortFast immediately moves the port into the forwarding state, bypassing listening and learning states.
  • A PortFast enabled port will continue to transmit BPDUs.
  • If a BPDU is received, PortFast is disabled.
  • The switch never generates a TCN when a PortFast enabled port goes up or down.
  • There is a difference between administrative and operational state.
  • The spanning-tree portfast trunk command enables PortFast on both access and trunk ports.
  • BPDU Guard and BPDU Filter global mode is dependent on operational PortFast.
  • BPDU Guard and BPDU Filter interface mode is unconditional.
  • Misconfigured BPDU Filter is much more dangerous than misconfigured PortFast, yet IOS does not generate a warning message about that.
  • PortFast can create a temporary loop of max. 2 seconds (default Hello interval) until the next BPDU is received and PortFast is disabled. BPDU Filter can create a permanent loop, because all BPDUs are ignored.
  • Remember the operation of STP - when BPDUs are sent and not sent.


Advanced STP Features: PortFast, BPDU Guard, and BPDU Filter