The link type provides a categorization for each port participating in RSTP by using the duplex mode on the port. Depending on what is attached to each port, two different link types can be identified:

In the figure, click each link to learn about the link types.

The link type can determine whether the port can immediately transition to forwarding state, assuming certain conditions are met. These conditions are different for edge ports and non-edge ports. Non-edge ports are categorized into two link types, point-to-point and shared. The link type is automatically determined, but can be overridden with an explicit port configuration using the spanning-tree link-type parameter command.

Edge port connections and point-to-point connections are candidates for rapid transition to forwarding state. However, before the link-type parameter is considered, RSTP must determine the port role. Characteristics of port roles with regard to link types include the following: