Media Access Control In Computer Networks

A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the network nodes.

Computer network, two or more computers that are connected with one another for the purpose of communicating data electronically. Besides physically connecting computer and communication devices, a network system serves the important function of establishing a cohesive architecture that allows a variety of equipment types to transfer information in a near-seamless fashion. Two popular architectures are ISO Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) and IBMs Systems Network Architecture (SNA).

Computer Network Types

A computer network is a group of computers linked to each other that enables the computer to communicate with another computer and share their resources, data, and applications.

A computer network can be categorized by their size. A computer network is mainly of four types:

Computer Network Types
  • LAN(Local Area Network)
  • PAN(Personal Area Network)
  • MAN(Metropolitan Area Network)
  • WAN(Wide Area Network)

LAN(Local Area Network)

  • Local Area Network is a group of computers connected to each other in a small area such as building, office.
  • LAN is used for connecting two or more personal computers through a communication medium such as twisted pair, coaxial cable, etc.
  • It is less costly as it is built with inexpensive hardware such as hubs, network adapters, and ethernet cables.
  • The data is transferred at an extremely faster rate in Local Area Network.
  • Local Area Network provides higher security.
Computer Network Types

PAN(Personal Area Network)

  • Personal Area Network is a network arranged within an individual person, typically within a range of 10 meters.
  • Personal Area Network is used for connecting the computer devices of personal use is known as Personal Area Network.
  • Thomas Zimmerman was the first research scientist to bring the idea of the Personal Area Network.
  • Personal Area Network covers an area of 30 feet.
  • Personal computer devices that are used to develop the personal area network are the laptop, mobile phones, media player and play stations.
Computer Network Types

There are two types of Personal Area Network:

Computer Network Types
  • Wired Personal Area Network
  • Wireless Personal Area Network

Wireless Personal Area Network: Wireless Personal Area Network is developed by simply using wireless technologies such as WiFi, Bluetooth. It is a low range network.

Wired Personal Area Network: Wired Personal Area Network is created by using the USB.

Examples Of Personal Area Network:

  • Body Area Network: Body Area Network is a network that moves with a person. For example, a mobile network moves with a person. Suppose a person establishes a network connection and then creates a connection with another device to share the information.
  • Offline Network: An offline network can be created inside the home, so it is also known as a home network. A home network is designed to integrate the devices such as printers, computer, television but they are not connected to the internet.
  • Small Home Office: It is used to connect a variety of devices to the internet and to a corporate network using a VPN

MAN(Metropolitan Area Network)

  • A metropolitan area network is a network that covers a larger geographic area by interconnecting a different LAN to form a larger network.
  • Government agencies use MAN to connect to the citizens and private industries.
  • In MAN, various LANs are connected to each other through a telephone exchange line.
  • The most widely used protocols in MAN are RS-232, Frame Relay, ATM, ISDN, OC-3, ADSL, etc.
  • It has a higher range than Local Area Network(LAN).
Computer Network Types

Uses Of Metropolitan Area Network:

  • MAN is used in communication between the banks in a city.
  • It can be used in an Airline Reservation.
  • It can be used in a college within a city.
  • It can also be used for communication in the military.

WAN(Wide Area Network)

  • A Wide Area Network is a network that extends over a large geographical area such as states or countries.
  • A Wide Area Network is quite bigger network than the LAN.
  • A Wide Area Network is not limited to a single location, but it spans over a large geographical area through a telephone line, fibre optic cable or satellite links.
  • The internet is one of the biggest WAN in the world.
  • A Wide Area Network is widely used in the field of Business, government, and education.
Computer Network Types

Examples Of Wide Area Network:

  • Mobile Broadband: A 4G network is widely used across a region or country.
  • Last mile: A telecom company is used to provide the internet services to the customers in hundreds of cities by connecting their home with fiber.
  • Private network: A bank provides a private network that connects the 44 offices. This network is made by using the telephone leased line provided by the telecom company.

Advantages Of Wide Area Network:

Following are the advantages of the Wide Area Network:

  • Geographical area: A Wide Area Network provides a large geographical area. Suppose if the branch of our office is in a different city then we can connect with them through WAN. The internet provides a leased line through which we can connect with another branch.
  • Centralized data: In case of WAN network, data is centralized. Therefore, we do not need to buy the emails, files or back up servers.
  • Get updated files: Software companies work on the live server. Therefore, the programmers get the updated files within seconds.
  • Exchange messages: In a WAN network, messages are transmitted fast. The web application like Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype allows you to communicate with friends.
  • Sharing of software and resources: In WAN network, we can share the software and other resources like a hard drive, RAM.
  • Global business: We can do the business over the internet globally.
  • High bandwidth: If we use the leased lines for our company then this gives the high bandwidth. The high bandwidth increases the data transfer rate which in turn increases the productivity of our company.

Disadvantages of Wide Area Network:

The following are the disadvantages of the Wide Area Network:

  • Security issue: A WAN network has more security issues as compared to LAN and MAN network as all the technologies are combined together that creates the security problem.
  • Needs Firewall & antivirus software: The data is transferred on the internet which can be changed or hacked by the hackers, so the firewall needs to be used. Some people can inject the virus in our system so antivirus is needed to protect from such a virus.
  • High Setup cost: An installation cost of the WAN network is high as it involves the purchasing of routers, switches.
  • Troubleshooting problems: It covers a large area so fixing the problem is difficult.

What is Media Access Control In Computer Network?

A media access control is a network data transfer policy that determines how data is transmitted between two computer terminals through a network cable. The media access control policy involves sub-layers of the data link layer 2 in the OSI reference model.

The essence of the MAC protocol is to ensure non-collision and eases the transfer of data packets between two computer terminals. A collision takes place when two or more terminals transmit data/information simultaneously. This leads to a breakdown of communication, which can prove costly for organizations that lean heavily on data transmission

Media Access Control Methods

This network channel through which data is transmitted between terminal nodes to avoid collision has three various ways of accomplishing this purpose. They include:

  • Carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA)
  • Carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD)
  • Demand priority
  • Token passing

Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA)

Carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA) is a media access control policy that regulates how data packets are transmitted between two computer nodes. This method avoids collision by configuring each computer terminal to make a signal before transmission. The signal is carried out by the transmitting computer to avoid a collision.

Multiple access implies that many computers are attempting to transmit data. Collision avoidance means that when a computer node transmitting data states its intention, the other waits at a specific length of time before resending the data.

CSMA/CA is data traffic regulation is slow and adds cost in having each computer node signal its intention before transmitting data. It used only on Apple networks.

Want to learn more about the technicalities?

Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD)

Carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) is the opposite of CSMA/CA. Instead of detecting data to transmit signal intention to prevent a collision, it observes the cable to detect the signal before transmitting.

Collision detection means that when a collision is detected by the media access control policy, transmitting by the network stations stops at a random length of time before transmitting starts again.

It is faster than CSMA/CA as it functions in a network station that involves fewer data frames being transmitted. CSMA/CD is not as efficient as CSMA/CA in preventing network collisions. This is because it only detects huge data traffic in the network cable. Huge data traffic increases the possibility of a collision taking place. It is used on the Ethernet network.

Demand Priority

The demand priority is an improved version of the Carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD). This data control policy uses an ‘active hub’ in regulating how a network is accessed. Demand priority requires that the network terminals obtain authorization from the active hub before data can be transmitted.

Another distinct feature of this MAC control policy is that data can be transmitted between the two network terminals at the same time without collision. In the Ethernet media, demand priority directs that data is transmitted directly to the receiving network terminal.

Token Passing

This media access control method uses free token passing to prevent a collision. Only a computer that possesses a free token, which is a small data frame, is authorized to transmit. Transmission occurs from a network terminal that has a higher priority than one with a low priority.

Token passing flourishes in an environment where a large number of short data frames are transmitted. This media access control policy is highly efficient in avoiding a collision. Possession of the free token is the only key to transmitting data by a network node. Each terminal holds this free token for a specific amount of time if the network with the high priority does not have data to transmit, the token is passed to the adjoining station in the network

Media access control regulates how a network is accessed by computer terminals and transmits from one terminal to the other without collision. This is achieved through CSMA/CD, CSMA/CA, demand priority, or Token passing.

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