CSMA /CD Carrier sense multiple access/collision detection (CSMA /CD) is one of the most popular access methods in use today. With CSMA /CD, every host has equal access to the wire and can place data on the wire when the wire is free from traffic. If a host wishes to place data on the wire, it will “sense” the wire and determine whether there is a signal already on the wire. If there is, the host will wait to transmit the data; if the wire is free, the host will send the data, as shown in Figure .
The problem with the process just described is that, if there are two systems on the wire that “sense” the wire at the same time to see if the wire is free, they will both send data out at the same time if the wire is free. When the two pieces of data are sent out on the wire at the same time, they will collide with one another, and the data will be destroyed. If the data is destroyed in transit, the data will need to be retransmitted. Consequently, after a collision, each host will wait a variable length of time before retransmitting the data (they don’t want the data to collide again) thereby preventing a collision the second time. When a system determines that the data has collided and then retransmits the data, it is known as collision detection.
To summarize, CSMA /CD provides that before a host sends data on the network it will “sense” (CS) the wire to ensure that the wire is free of traffic. Multiple systems have equal access to the wire (MA), and if there is a collision, a host will detect that collision (CD) and retransmit the data
Carrier sense multiple access/collision avoidance (CSMA /CA) is not as popular as CSMA /CD and for good reason. With CSMA /CA, before a host sends data on the wire it will “sense” the wire as well to see if the wire is free of signals. If the wire is free, it will try to “avoid” a collision by sending a piece of “dummy” data on the wire first to see whether it collides with any other data. If it does not collide, the host in effect assumes “If my dummy data did not collide, then the real data will not collide,” and it submits the real data on the wire.
With both CSMA /CD and CSMA /CA, the possibility of collisions is always there, and the more hosts that are placed on the wire, the greater the chances of collisions, because you have more systems “waiting”’ for the wire to become free so that they can send their data.
Token passing takes a totally different approach to deciding on how a system can place data on the wire. With token passing, there is an empty packet running around on the wire — the “token.” In order to place data on the wire, you need to wait for the token; once you have the token and it is free of data, you can place your data on the wire. Since there is only one token and a host needs to have the token to “talk,” it is impossible to have collisions in a token-passing environment.
For example, if Workstation 1 wants to send data on the wire, the workstation would wait for the token, which is circling the network millions of times per second. Once the token has reached Workstation 1, the workstation would take the token off the network, fill it with data, mark the token as being used so that no other systems try to fill the token with data, and then place the token back on the wire heading for the destination host.