Multiple Access Protocol


We can consider the data link layer as two sublayers. The upper sublayer is responsible
for data link control, and the lower sublayer is responsible for resolving access to the
shared media.

Many formal protocols have been devised to handle access to a shared link. We categorize them into three groups: random access protocols, controlled access protocols,
and channelization protocols.

In random access or contention methods, no station is superior to another station
and none is assigned the control over another.

ALOHA allows multiple access (MA) to the shared medium.There are potential
collisions in this arrangement. When a station sends data, another station may attempt
to do so at the same time. The data from the two stations collide and become garbled.

To minimize the chance of collision and, therefore, increase the performance, the
CSMA method was developed. The chance of collision can be reduced if a station  senses the medium before trying to use it. Carrier sense multiple access (CSMA) requires that each station first listen to the medium before sending. Three methods have been devised for carrier sensing: I-persistent, nonpersistent, and p-persistent.

Carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) augments the CSMA algorithm to handle collision. In this method, a station monitors the medium after it sends a frame to see if the transmission was successful. If so, the station is finished. If, however, there is a collision, the frame is sent again.

To avoid collisions on wireless networks, carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA) was invented. Collisions are avoided through the use three strategies: the interframe space, the contention window, and acknowledgments.

In controlled access, the stations consult one another to find which station has the right to send. A station cannot send unless it has been authorized by other stations. We discussed three popular controlled-access methods: reservation, polling, and token passing.

In the reservation access method, a station needs to make a reservation before sending data. Time is divided into intervals. In each interval, a reservation frame precedes the data frames sent in that interval.

In the polling method, all data exchanges must be made through the primary device even when the ultimate destination is a secondary device. The primary device controls the link; the secondary devices follow its instructions.

In the token-passing method, the stations in a network are organized in a logical ring. Each station has a predecessor and a successor. A special packet called a token circulates through the ring.

Channelization is a multiple-access method in which the available bandwidth of a link is shared in time, frequency, or through code, between different stations. We discussed three channelization protocols: FDMA, TDMA, and CDMA.

In frequency-division multiple access (FDMA), the available bandwidth is divided into frequency bands. Each station is allocated a band to send its data. In other words, each band is reserved for a specific station, and it belongs to the station all the time.

In time-division multiple access (TDMA), the stations share the bandwidth of the channel in time. Each station is allocated a time slot during which it can send data. Each station transmits its data in its assigned time slot.

In code-division multiple access (CDMA), the stations use different codes to achieve multiple access. CDMA is based on coding theory and uses sequences of numbers called chips. The sequences are generated using orthogonal codes such the Walsh tables.

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