With all the talk about Layer 2 Multipath (L2MP) designs going on, I just want to point out a fundamental change in the way many people approach network design. It’s seems that this point has been lost somewhere in the discussion of protocols.
The Spanning Tree Protocol blocks looped paths, and in a typical networks this means that bandwidth is unevenly distributed. Of course, we might use PVST or MST to provide a rough sharing of load by splitting the spanning tree preferences for different VLANs, but the design still doesn’t change overall. The basic point is that there is a LOT of bandwidth that is never evenly utilised – and that means wasted power, space and cooling (which costs more than the equipment itself).