Explain the Taxonomy of multiple access protocols.

Mumbai University > Information Technology > Sem4 > Computer Networks

Marks: 10M

Year: May 2014

1 Answer

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  • In random access or contention methods, no station is superior to another station and none is assigned the control over another. No station permits, or does not permit, another station to send. At each instance, a station that has data to send uses a procedure defined by the protocol to make a decision on whether or not to send.
  • This decision depends on the state of the medium (idle or busy).Two features give this method its name. First, there is no scheduled time for a station to transmit. Transmission is random among the stations. That is why these methods are called random access. Second, no rules specify which station should send next. Stations compete with one another to access the medium. That is why these methods are also called contention methods


    This random access method, was developed at the University of Hawaiiin early 1970. It was designed for a radio (wireless) LAN, but it can be used on any shared medium. It is obvious that there are potential collisions in this arrangement. The medium is shared between the stations. When a station sends data, another station may attempt todo so at the same time. The data from the two stations collide and become garbled.

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

  • The problem with CSMA is that transmitting station continues to transmit its frame even though a collision occurs.
  • The channel time is unnecessarily wasted due to this. In CSMA/CD, if a station receives other transmissions when it is transmitting, then a collision can be detected as soon as it occurs and the transmission time is saved.
  • As soon as a collision is detected, the transmitting stations release a jam signal.
  • The jam signal will alert the other stations. The stations then are not supposed to transmit immediately after the collision has occurred. Otherwise there is possibility that the same frames would collide again.
  • After some ―back off‖ delay time the stations will retry the transmission. If again the collision takes place then the back off time is increased progressively.

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

  • In a wired network, the received signal has almost the same energy as the sent signal because either the length of the cable is short or there are repeaters that amplify the energy between the sender and the receiver. This means that in a collision, the detected energy almost doubles.
  • However, in a wireless network, much of the sent energy is lost in transmission. The received signal has very little energy. Therefore, a collision may add only 5 to 10% additional energy. This is not useful for effective collision detection. We need to avoid collisions on wireless networks because they cannot be detected.
  • Carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA) was invented for this network. Collisions are avoided through the use of CSMAICA's three strategies: the interframespace, the contention window, and acknowledgments


Controlled Access

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 discuss three popular controlled-access methods.


In the reservation 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. If there are N stations in the system, there are exactly N reservation minislots in the reservation frame. Each minislot belongs to a station. When a station needs to send a data frame, it makes a reservation in its own minislot.

The stations that have made reservations can send their data frames after the reservation frame. Figure below shows a situation with five stations and a five-minislot reservation frame. In the first interval, only stations 1, 3, and 4 have made reservations. In the second interval, only station 1 has made a reservation.

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Polling works with topologies in which one device is designated as a primary station and the other devices are secondary stations. 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. It is up to the primary device to determine which device is allowed to use the channel at a given time. The primary device, therefore, is always the initiator of a session

If the primary wants to receive data, it asks the secondary‘s if they have anything to send; this is called poll function. If the primary wants to send data, it tells the secondary to get ready to receive; this is called select function.

Token Passing:

  • In the token-passing method, the stations in a network are organized in a logical ring. In other words, for each station, there is a predecessor and a successor. The predecessor is the station which is logically before the station in the ring; the successor is the station which is after the station in the ring.
  • The current station is the one that is accessing the channel now. The right to this access has been passed from the predecessor to the current station. The right will be passed to the successor when the current station has no more data to send.
  • Token management is needed for this access method. Stations must be limited in the time they can have possession of the token. The token must be monitored to ensure it has not been lost or destroyed.
  • For example, if a station that is holding the token fails, the token will disappear from the network. Another function of token management is to assign priorities to the stations and to the types of data being transmitted. And finally, token management is needed to make low-priority stations release the token to high priority stations.


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. Three channelization protocols: FDMA, TDMA, and CDMA.

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FDMA: 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. Each station also uses a bandpass filter to confine the transmitter frequencies. To prevent station interferences, the allocated bands are separated from one another by small guard bands.

TDMA: 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 is assigned time slot.


  • In CDMA each user is given a unique code sequence or signature sequence. This sequence allows the user to spread information signal across the assigned frequency band.
  • At the receiver the signal is recovered by using the same code sequence. At the receiver, the signals received from various users are separated by checking the cross-correlation of the received signal with each possible user signature sequence.
  • In CDMA the users access the channel in a random manner. Hence the signals transmitted by multiple users will completely overlap both in time and in frequency.
  • The CDMA signals are spread in frequency. Therefore the demodulation and separation of these signals at the receiver can be achieved by using the pseudorandom code sequence. CDMA is sometimes also called as spread spectrum multiple access (SSMA).
  • In CDMA as the bandwidth as well as time of the channel is being shared by the users, it is necessary to introduce the guard times and guard bands.
  • CDMA does not any synchronization, but the code sequences or signature waveforms are required.
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