There are five port roles in RSTP:
* Root port – A forwarding port that is the closest to the root bridge in terms of path cost
* Designated port – A forwarding port for every LAN segment
* Alternate port – A best alternate path to the root bridge. This path is different than using the root port. The alternative port moves to the forwarding state if there is a failure on the designated port for the segment.
* Backup port – A backup/redundant path to a segment where another bridge port already connects. The backup port applies only when a single switch has two links to the same segment (collision domain). To have two links to the same collision domain, the switch must be attached to a hub.
* Disabled port – Not strictly part of STP, a network administrator can manually disable a port
There is no “blocking” port role like STP. The “alternative” and “backup” roles are only in RSTP.
RSTP is backward compatible with STP 802.1D. If a RSTP enabled port receives a (legacy) 802.1d BPDU, it will automatically configure itself to behave like a legacy port. It sends and receives 802.1d BPDUs only.