Home > Articles > Certification > CompTIA

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Configuring Routers and Switches

  • Given a scenario, install and configure routers and switches.

The next chapter focuses on actual hardware components of a network, but the reason for the hardware is to carry out the operations discussed in this chapter. This section looks at a few of the more advanced features that routers and switches perform.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

The purpose of Power over Ethernet (PoE) is pretty much described in its name. Essentially, PoE is a technology that enables electrical power to transmit over twisted-pair Ethernet cable. The power transfers, along with data, to provide power to remote devices. These devices may include remote switches, wireless access points, voice over IP (VoIP) equipment, and more.

One of the key advantages of PoE is the centralized management of power. For instance, without PoE, all remote devices need to be independently powered. In the case of a power outage, each of these devices requires an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to continue operating. A UPS is a battery pack that enables devices to operate for a period of time. With PoE supplying power, a UPS is required only in the main facility. In addition, centralized power management enables administrators to power up or down remote equipment.

The Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)

An Ethernet network can have only a single active path between devices on a network. When multiple active paths are available, switching loops can occur. Switching loops are simply the result of having more than one path between two switches in a network. Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) is designed to prevent these loops from occurring.

STP is used with network bridges and switches. With the help of Spanning Tree Algorithm (STA), STP avoids or eliminates loops on a Layer 2 bridge.

STA enables a bridge or switch to dynamically work around loops in a network’s topology. Both STA and STP were developed to prevent loops in the network and provide a way to route around any failed network bridge or ports. If the network topology changes, or if a switch port or bridge fails, STA creates a new spanning tree, notifies the other bridges of the problem, and routes around it. STP is the protocol, and STA is the algorithm STP uses to correct loops.

If a particular port has a problem, STP can perform a number of actions, including blocking the port, disabling the port, or forwarding data destined for that port to another port. It does this to ensure that no redundant links or paths are found in the spanning tree and that only a single active path exists between any two network nodes.

STP uses bridge protocol data units (BPDUs) to identify the status of ports and bridges across the network. BPDUs are simple data messages exchanged between switches. BPDUs contain information on ports and provide the status of those ports to other switches. If a BPDU message finds a loop in the network, it is managed by shutting down a particular port or bridge interface.

Redundant paths and potential loops can be avoided within ports in several ways:

  • Blocking: A blocked port accepts BPDU messages but does not forward them.
  • Disabled: The port is offline and does not accept BPDU messages.
  • Forwarding: The port is part of the active spanning tree topology and forwards BPDU messages to other switches.
  • Learning: In a learning state, the port is not part of the active spanning tree topology but can take over if another port fails. Learning ports receive BPDUs and identify changes to the topology when made.
  • Listening: A listening port receives BPDU messages and monitors for changes to the network topology.

Most of the time, ports are in either a forwarding or blocked state. When a disruption to the topology occurs or a bridge or switch fails for some reason, listening and learning states are used.


In computer networking, the term trunking refers to the use of multiple network cables or ports in parallel to increase the link speed beyond the limits of any one cable or port. Sound confusing? If you have network experience, you might have heard the term link aggregation, which is essentially the same thing. It is just using multiple cables to increase the throughput. The higher-capacity trunking link is used to connect switches to form larger networks.

VLAN trunking—or VLAN (trunking), as CompTIA lists it—is the application of trunking to the virtual LAN—now common with routers, firewalls, VMWare hosts, and wireless access points. VLAN trunking provides a simple and cheap way to offer a nearly unlimited number of virtual network connections. The requirements are only that the switch, the network adapter, and the OS drivers all support VLANs. The VLAN Trunking Protocol (VTP) is a proprietary protocol from Cisco for just such a purpose.

Port Mirroring

You need some way to monitor network traffic and monitor how well a switch works. This is the function of port mirroring. To use port mirroring, administrators configure a copy of all inbound and outbound traffic to go to a certain port. A protocol analyzer examines the data sent to the port and therefore does not interrupt the flow of regular traffic.

Port Authentication

Port authentication is what it sounds like—authenticating users on a port-by-port basis. One standard that specifies port authentication is the 802.1X standard, often associated with wireless security. Systems that attempt to connect to a LAN port must be authenticated. Those who are authenticated can access the LAN; those who are not authenticated get no further. Chapter 10 provides more information on the 802.1X standard and port authentication.

Cram Quiz

  1. Port mirroring enables administrators to monitor which traffic to the switch?

    • circle.jpg A. Inbound only
    • circle.jpg B. Outbound only
    • circle.jpg C. Inbound and outbound
    • circle.jpg D. Neither inbound nor outbound
  2. Which of the following is NOT used to avoid redundant paths and potential loops within ports?
    • circle.jpg A. Blocking
    • circle.jpg B. Learning
    • circle.jpg C. Forwarding
    • circle.jpg D. Jamming

Cram Quiz Answers

  1. C. Port mirroring enables administrators to monitor the traffic outbound and inbound to the switch.
  2. D. The common methods to avoid redundant paths and potential loops within ports include blocking, disabled, forwarding, learning, and listening. Jamming is not one of the methods employed.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020