The topic covers a few topics, so I would try to break this down further as means to provide more information as well as gain a better understanding about the technology.
First some background - we are running a local LAN Party with a lot of attendees. Connected computers vary between 200 and 600 (could be more). We have Netgear FS726T managed switches, with gigabit links leading to a core gigabit switch. The network is setup at least a couple of hours before people come in and is used for 24-48 hours. On those Netgear switches, we've enabled 802.1d to avoid loops, but everything is left with default settings.
We have control over the following STP 802.1d settings (with their ranges):
- Bridge priority (0-65535)
- Bridge Max Age (6-20)
- Bridge Hello Time (1-10)
- Bridge Forward Delay (4-30)
- Path cost (1-65535)
- Priority (0-255)
Here are some follow up questions:
- how can the 802.1d settings be tweaked to best suit this scenario?
- can these changes have impact on network performance (both lag and transfer speeds)?
These are the changes I've been considering along with reasons why - is my thinking correct?
- maximize age to avoid rebuilding the spanning tree calculations as much as possible (because the network won't change once it's established)
- maximize hello time to minimize chatter (similar reasons to above)
- minimize forward delay to start sending actual packets as quickly as possible
- increase path cost on standard ports to avoid connected machines from hijacking traffic
- decrease path cost on the link to the core switch to indicate preferable path
- increase priority on the link to the core (same as above)
Any information and partial answers would be appreciated. Information on where to find more information on the topic would also be appreciated.