Can some one explain what the Spanning Tree and Rapid Spanning Tree protocol's are used for or point me to a web page that explains them, I think there is some where on the firewall.cx web site but I dont seem to be able to find it.
STP is used with network devices such as routers and bridges, and it uses an algorithim to create a tree-like logical hierarchy of devices and creates a redundant network structure. It also uses protocols such as HELLO to prevent loops between devices. SPT can also intertwine functions such as load distribution and MAC filters.
As for a tutorial, I have no idea, although I know most of what I know about STP from a book called "Internetworking: A guide to a Structured Network" by Petra Borowka. Although this book is outdated it covers all the frameworks that newer technology is built off of, a must know for any network enthuasiast. Fair warning, it assumes a lot. Well good luck.
Not much more to add here. The main 'real world' use of spanning tree is so you can have multiple paths in an Ethernet network that would otherwise cause a network loop. STP resolves the 'tree' and sets all the multiple paths except one to a blocking state. If the forwarding path fails, it detects the topology change and enables one of the others. Fast spanning tree is used on Cisco switches. If you're using a port for an end device (as opposed to a multiple link to other switches etc) you can set its STP mode to fast. When the PC comes on, you then don't have to wait for the STP set up time, it just enables the port straight away.