In 2001, the IEEE introduced Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) as 802.1w. RSTP provides significantly faster spanning tree convergence after a topology change, introducing new convergence behaviors and bridge port roles to do this. RSTP was designed to be backwards-compatible with standard STP.
While STP can take 30 to 50 seconds to respond to a topology change, RSTP is typically able to respond to changes within 3 × Hello times (default: 3 times 2 seconds) or within a few milliseconds of a physical link failure. The Hello time is an important and configurable time interval that is used by RSTP for several purposes; its default value is 2 seconds.
Standard IEEE 802.1D-2004 incorporates RSTP and obsoletes the original STP standard.