Different types of network protocols


Protocols are a set of rules whose main purpose is to govern communications amongst computers sharing the same network. The rules are inclusive of guidelines, which are known to regulate network characteristics such as cabling types, access method, data transfer speed and allowed physical topologies. There are five most common types of protocols found on networks; ATM, Token Ring, Local Talk, FDDI and Ethernet.

Ethernet protocol’s is the most common of the protocols. It uses the Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection abbreviated as CMMA/CD access method. The system works by the letting every computer to listen to the cable before it is able to send something via the network; a clear network will boost transmission. If a separate node is transmitting already the computer waits until the line is clear before transmission can take place. Should two computers try to transmit at the same time there will be a collision occurring. In such a case, the computers each back off and then wits for random amounts of time before it can try to transmit again; this method of access is known to collisions but it should be noted that the delay that is as a result of retransmitting and collisions is small and will not affect the speed of the network transmission. This protocol supports tree, star or bus topologies. Data is transmitted over the fiber optic cable, wireless access points, coaxial or twisted pair at speeds of 10 Mbps and up to 1000 Mbps.

Local Talk uses the Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance method. Specially twisted pair cables and the Local Talk adapters are used to connect computer series through a serial port. Macintosh operating system facilitates the creation of peer-to-peer networks even without additional software. This protocol allows for tree, star, or linear bus topologies by the use of a twisted pair cable. It has a speed of 230 Kbps of transmission, which is a great disadvantage. Also known as Asynchronous Transfer Mode, ATM is a network protocol that facilitates the transmission of data at 155 Mbps speeds and more. It works by the transmission of data in small packets with a fixed size.

ATM is known to support various media like imaging, video and CD-quality audio. Fiber Distributed Data Interface network protocol interconnects two or more local area networks on large distances and involves a token passing using a dual ring type of physical topology. The Token Ring protocol uses the token passing access method in Token Ring, the computer connection is done in such a way to let the signal travel on the network smoothly between the computers in a logical ring. It is vital to note that the various network protocols call for different specifications although some might be similar.

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