media access control method

Definition of media access control method in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Media Access Control Method?

A way to allow computers to transmit signals over network cabling, while ensuring that only one computer transmits at a time. If two computers simultaneously place signals on the wire, a collision can occur and data might be corrupted unless a method is used to resolve the collision gracefully. Media access control methods act like traffic lights by permitting the smooth flow of traffic on a network, and they prevent or deal with collisions. Media access control methods are implemented at the data-link layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model.

Four main media access control methods are used in networking:

  • Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD), which is used in Ethernet networking
  • Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA), which is used in AppleTalk networking
  • Token passing, which is used in Token Ring and Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) networking
  • Demand priority, which is used in 100BaseVG networking