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IntroductiontoLANProtocols
FromDocWiki
Thisarticleintroducesthevariousmediaaccessmethods,transmissionmethods,topologies,anddevices
usedinalocalareanetwork(LAN).Topicsaddressedfocusonthemethodsanddevicesusedin
Ethernet/IEEE802.3,TokenRing/IEEE802.5,andFiberDistributedDataInterface(FDDI).Subsequent
articlesinLANProtocolsaddressspecificprotocolsinmoredetail.
Figure:ThreeLANImplementationsAreUsedMostCommonlyillustratesthebasiclayoutofthesethree
implementations.

Contents
1Figure:ThreeLANImplementationsAreUsedMost
Commonly
2WhatIsaLAN?
3LANProtocolsandtheOSIReferenceModel
3.1Figure:PopularLANProtocolsMappedtothe
OSIReferenceModel
4LANMediaAccessMethods
5LANTransmissionMethods
6LANTopologies
6.1Figure:SomeNetworksImplementaLocalBus
Topology
6.2Figure:SomeNetworksImplementaLogical
RingTopology
6.3Figure:ALogicalTreeTopologyCanContain
MultipleNodes
7LANDevices
7.1Figure:ARepeaterConnectsTwoNetwork
Segments
7.2Figure:MultipleLANExtendersCanConnectto
theHostRouterThroughaWAN
8ReviewQuestions
9ForMoreInformation

GuideContents
InternetworkingBasics
LANTechnologies
WANTechnologies
InternetProtocols
BridgingandSwitching
Routing
NetworkManagement
Voice/DataIntegrationTechnologies
WirelessTechnologies
CableAccessTechnologies
DialupTechnology
SecurityTechnologies
QualityofServiceNetworking
NetworkCachingTechnologies
IBMNetworkManagement
MultiserviceAccessTechnologies

Figure:ThreeLANImplementationsAreUsedMostCommonly

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WhatIsaLAN?
ALANisahighspeeddatanetworkthatcoversarelativelysmallgeographicarea.Ittypicallyconnects
workstations,personalcomputers,printers,servers,andotherdevices.LANsoffercomputerusersmany
advantages,includingsharedaccesstodevicesandapplications,fileexchangebetweenconnectedusers,
andcommunicationbetweenusersviaelectronicmailandotherapplications.

LANProtocolsandtheOSIReferenceModel
LANprotocolsfunctionatthelowesttwolayersoftheOSIreferencemodel,asdiscussedinarticle
InternetworkingBasicsbetweenthephysicallayerandthedatalinklayer.
Figure:PopularLANProtocolsMappedtotheOSIReferenceModelillustrateshowseveralpopularLAN
protocolsmaptotheOSIreferencemodel.
Figure:PopularLANProtocolsMappedtotheOSIReferenceModel

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LANMediaAccessMethods
Mediacontentionoccurswhentwoormorenetworkdeviceshavedatatosendatthesametime.Because
multipledevicescannottalkonthenetworksimultaneously,sometypeofmethodmustbeusedtoallow
onedeviceaccesstothenetworkmediaatatime.Thisisdoneintwomainways:carriersensemultiple
accesscollisiondetect(CSMA/CD)andtokenpassing.
InnetworksusingCSMA/CDtechnologysuchasEthernet,networkdevicescontendforthenetworkmedia.
Whenadevicehasdatatosend,itfirstlistenstoseeifanyotherdeviceiscurrentlyusingthenetwork.If
not,itstartssendingitsdata.Afterfinishingitstransmission,itlistensagaintoseeifacollisionoccurred.A
collisionoccurswhentwodevicessenddatasimultaneously.Whenacollisionhappens,eachdevicewaitsa
randomlengthoftimebeforeresendingitsdata.Inmostcases,acollisionwillnotoccuragainbetweenthe
twodevices.Becauseofthistypeofnetworkcontention,thebusieranetworkbecomes,themorecollisions
occur.ThisiswhyperformanceofEthernetdegradesrapidlyasthenumberofdevicesonasinglenetwork
increases.
IntokenpassingnetworkssuchasTokenRingandFDDI,aspecialnetworkframecalledatokenispassed
aroundthenetworkfromdevicetodevice.Whenadevicehasdatatosend,itmustwaituntilithasthe
tokenandthensendsitsdata.Whenthedatatransmissioniscomplete,thetokenisreleasedsothatother
devicesmayusethenetworkmedia.Themainadvantageoftokenpassingnetworksisthattheyare
deterministic.Inotherwords,itiseasytocalculatethemaximumtimethatwillpassbeforeadevicehasthe
opportunitytosenddata.Thisexplainsthepopularityoftokenpassingnetworksinsomerealtime
environmentssuchasfactories,wheremachinerymustbecapableofcommunicatingatadeterminable
interval.
ForCSMA/CDnetworks,switchessegmentthenetworkintomultiplecollisiondomains.Thisreducesthe
numberofdevicespernetworksegmentthatmustcontendforthemedia.Bycreatingsmallercollision
domains,theperformanceofanetworkcanbeincreasedsignificantlywithoutrequiringaddressingchanges.
NormallyCSMA/CDnetworksarehalfduplex,meaningthatwhileadevicesendsinformation,itcannot
receiveatthetime.Whilethatdeviceistalking,itisincapableofalsolisteningforothertraffic.Thisis
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muchlikeawalkietalkie.Whenonepersonwantstotalk,hepressesthetransmitbuttonandbegins
speaking.Whileheistalking,nooneelseonthesamefrequencycantalk.Whenthesendingpersonis
finished,hereleasesthetransmitbuttonandthefrequencyisavailabletoothers.
Whenswitchesareintroduced,fullduplexoperationispossible.Fullduplexworksmuchlikeatelephone
youcanlistenaswellastalkatthesametime.Whenanetworkdeviceisattacheddirectlytotheportofa
networkswitch,thetwodevicesmaybecapableofoperatinginfullduplexmode.Infullduplexmode,
performancecanbeincreased,butnotquiteasmuchassomeliketoclaim.A100MbpsEthernetsegment
iscapableoftransmitting200Mbpsofdata,butonly100Mbpscantravelinonedirectionatatime.
Becausemostdataconnectionsareasymmetric(withmoredatatravelinginonedirectionthantheother),
thegainisnotasgreatasmanyclaim.However,fullduplexoperationdoesincreasethethroughputofmost
applicationsbecausethenetworkmediaisnolongershared.Twodevicesonafullduplexconnectioncan
senddataassoonasitisready.
TokenpassingnetworkssuchasTokenRingcanalsobenefitfromnetworkswitches.Inlargenetworks,the
delaybetweenturnstotransmitmaybesignificantbecausethetokenispassedaroundthenetwork.

LANTransmissionMethods
LANdatatransmissionsfallintothreeclassifications:unicast,multicast,andbroadcast.Ineachtypeof
transmission,asinglepacketissenttooneormorenodes.
Inaunicasttransmission,asinglepacketissentfromthesourcetoadestinationonanetwork.First,the
sourcenodeaddressesthepacketbyusingtheaddressofthedestinationnode.Thepackageisthensent
ontothenetwork,andfinally,thenetworkpassesthepackettoitsdestination.
Amulticasttransmissionconsistsofasingledatapacketthatiscopiedandsenttoaspecificsubsetofnodes
onthenetwork.First,thesourcenodeaddressesthepacketbyusingamulticastaddress.Thepacketisthen
sentintothenetwork,whichmakescopiesofthepacketandsendsacopytoeachnodethatispartofthe
multicastaddress.
Abroadcasttransmissionconsistsofasingledatapacketthatiscopiedandsenttoallnodesonthenetwork.
Inthesetypesoftransmissions,thesourcenodeaddressesthepacketbyusingthebroadcastaddress.The
packetisthensentontothenetwork,whichmakescopiesofthepacketandsendsacopytoeverynodeon
thenetwork.

LANTopologies
LANtopologiesdefinethemannerinwhichnetworkdevicesareorganized.FourcommonLANtopologies
exist:bus,ring,star,andtree.Thesetopologiesarelogicalarchitectures,buttheactualdevicesneednotbe
physicallyorganizedintheseconfigurations.Logicalbusandringtopologies,forexample,arecommonly
organizedphysicallyasastar.AbustopologyisalinearLANarchitectureinwhichtransmissionsfrom
networkstationspropagatethelengthofthemediumandarereceivedbyallotherstations.Ofthethree
mostwidelyusedLANimplementations,Ethernet/IEEE802.3networksincluding100BaseTimplementa
bustopology,whichisillustratedinFigure:SomeNetworksImplementaLocalBusTopology.
Figure:SomeNetworksImplementaLocalBusTopology
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AringtopologyisaLANarchitecturethatconsistsofaseriesofdevicesconnectedtooneanotherby
unidirectionaltransmissionlinkstoformasingleclosedloop.BothTokenRing/IEEE802.5andFDDI
networksimplementaringtopology.
Figure:SomeNetworksImplementaLogicalRingTopologydepictsalogicalringtopology.
Figure:SomeNetworksImplementaLogicalRingTopology

AstartopologyisaLANarchitectureinwhichtheendpointsonanetworkareconnectedtoacommon
centralhub,orswitch,bydedicatedlinks.Logicalbusandringtopologiesareoftenimplementedphysically
inastartopology,whichisillustratedinthefollowingfigure.
AtreetopologyisaLANarchitecturethatisidenticaltothebustopology,exceptthatbrancheswith
multiplenodesarepossibleinthiscase.
Figure:ALogicalTreeTopologyCanContainMultipleNodesillustratesalogicaltreetopology.
Figure:ALogicalTreeTopologyCanContainMultipleNodes

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LANDevices
DevicescommonlyusedinLANsincluderepeaters,hubs,LANextenders,bridges,LANswitches,and
routers.

Note: Repeaters,hubs,andLANextendersarediscussedbrieflyinthissection.Thefunctionand
operationofbridges,switches,androutersarediscussedgenerallyin"BridgingandSwitching
Basics"and"RoutingBasics."
Arepeaterisaphysicallayerdeviceusedtointerconnectthemediasegmentsofanextendednetwork.A
repeateressentiallyenablesaseriesofcablesegmentstobetreatedasasinglecable.Repeatersreceive
signalsfromonenetworksegmentandamplify,retime,andretransmitthosesignalstoanothernetwork
segment.Theseactionspreventsignaldeteriorationcausedbylongcablelengthsandlargenumbersof
connecteddevices.Repeatersareincapableofperformingcomplexfilteringandothertrafficprocessing.In
addition,allelectricalsignals,includingelectricaldisturbancesandothererrors,arerepeatedandamplified.
Thetotalnumberofrepeatersandnetworksegmentsthatcanbeconnectedislimitedduetotimingand
otherissues.
Figure:ARepeaterConnectsTwoNetworkSegmentsillustratesarepeaterconnectingtwonetwork
segments.
Figure:ARepeaterConnectsTwoNetworkSegments

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Ahubisaphysicallayerdevicethatconnectsmultipleuserstations,eachviaadedicatedcable.Electrical
interconnectionsareestablishedinsidethehub.Hubsareusedtocreateaphysicalstarnetworkwhile
maintainingthelogicalbusorringconfigurationoftheLAN.Insomerespects,ahubfunctionsasa
multiportrepeater.
ALANextenderisaremoteaccessmultilayerswitchthatconnectstoahostrouter.LANextendersforward
trafficfromallthestandardnetworklayerprotocols(suchasIP,IPX,andAppleTalk)andfiltertraffic
basedontheMACaddressornetworklayerprotocoltype.LANextendersscalewellbecausethehost
routerfiltersoutunwantedbroadcastsandmulticasts.However,LANextendersarenotcapableof
segmentingtrafficorcreatingsecurityfirewalls.
Figure:MultipleLANExtendersCanConnecttotheHostRouterThroughaWANillustratesmultipleLAN
extendersconnectedtothehostrouterthroughaWAN.
Figure:MultipleLANExtendersCanConnecttotheHostRouterThroughaWAN

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ReviewQuestions
QDescribethetypeofmediaaccessusedbyEthernet.
AEthernetusescarriersensemultipleaccesscollisiondetect(CSMA/CD).Eachnetworkstationlistens
beforeandaftertransmittingdata.Ifacollisionisdetected,bothstationswaitarandomtimebeforetrying
toresend.
QDescribethetypeofmediaaccessusedbyTokenRing.
ATokenRingpassesaspecialtypeofpacketcalledatokenaroundthenetwork.Ifanetworkdevicehas
datatosend,itmustwaituntilithasthetokentosendit.Afterthedatahasbeensent,thetokenisreleased
backonthenetwork.
QDescribeunicast,multicast,andbroadcasttransmissions.
AAunicastisatransmissionfromonesourcetoonedestination.Amulticastisatransmissionfromone
sourcetomanystationsthatregistertoreceivethetraffic.Abroadcastisatransmissionfromonesourceto
everystationonthelocalnetworksegment.

ForMoreInformation
Cisco'swebsite(www.cisco.com)isawonderfulsourceformoreinformationaboutthesetopics.The
Documentationsectionincludesindepthdiscussionsonmanyofthetopicscoveredinthisarticle.
Teare,Diane.DesigningCiscoNetworks.Indianapolis:CiscoPress,July1999.

Rating:4.4/5(109votescast)

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