A type of media access control method for placing signals on baseband transmission networks. Since baseband networks can carry only one data signal at a time, there must be some way of controlling which station has access to the media at any given time. Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA) is one such control method.
In networking technologies that use CSMA/CA as their access method, stations announce their intention to transmit before they actually transmit their data onto the network media.
Each station «listens» constantly to the wire for these announcements, and if it hears one, it avoids transmitting its own data.
In other words, on a CSMA/CA network, stations try to avoid collisions with signals generated from other stations. The extra signaling generated by CSMA/CA makes it a slower access method than the Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) method used in Ethernet networking.
CSMA/CA is the standard access method for AppleTalk networks based on LocalTalk. LocalTalk is a legacy network media technology that specifies the proprietary cabling components of the original AppleTalk networking architecture. LocalTalk uses a bus topology or tree topology that supports up to 32 stations on a network.
CSMA-CA is an acronym that stands for Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance.