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Local Area Network Media Access Methods

There are a number of Local Area Network technologies. They include Token Ring, Fiber Distributed Data Interface, Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. These technologies are suitable for different network topologies, depending on their size, traffic and communication speeds. In respect of this, there are a number of media access methods that enhance communication on LAN. Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) and Token Passing are common media access methods on Ethernet and Token Ring network topologies, respectively, with merits and demerits unique to each method.

The CSMA/CD Media Access method senses traffic on any part of the network because of its collision detection feature. All computers on the network have access on the cable at any moment. When network collisions are likely to occur, there is a retransmission, which causes clogging of the network of the network and slows down the network. The retransmissions also restrict the cable length of the network segment (“The CSMA/CD Access Method”, n.d.).

In the Token Ring topology, communication occurs through token passing. This is whereby a message rests in a token which moves around the local area network, from one computer to another. The sending machine places the message with adequate encoding to ensure it reaches its destination. The recipient then receives message, decodes it and sends feedback. This media access method is expensive since network components cost more than any other standard. It also has inbuilt complexity inside the supporting network components, making it relatively proprietary. However, it offers fast connectivity, LAN-LAN mainframe connections, has inbuilt troubleshooting mechanisms and a trouble-free configuration (physical star) (“Token Passing Protocol”, n.d.).

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