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| | Saturday, April 25, 2009

CSMA/CA and Wireless Networks

CSMA/CA was mostly intended for use in wireless networks. The procedure described above, however, is not sophisticated enough to handle some particular issues related to wireless networks, such as hidden terminals or exposed terminals. We will see how these issues are solved by augmenting the above protocol with hand-shaking features.


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.


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 secondaries 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.


The select function is used whenever the primary device has something to send. Remember that the primary controls the link. If the primary is neither sending nor receiving data, it knows the link is available. If it has something to send, the primary device sends it. What it does not know,
however, is whether the target device is prepared to receive. So the primary must alert the secondary to the upcoming transmission and wait for an acknowledgment of the secondary's ready status. Before sending data, the primary creates and transmits a select (SEL) frame, one field of which includes the address of the intended secondary.


The poll function is used by the primary device to solicit transmissions from the secondary devices. When the primary is ready to receive data, it must ask (poll) each device in turn if it has anything to send. When the first secondary is approached, it responds either with a NAK frame if it has nothing to send or with data (in the form of a data frame) if it does. If the response is negative (a NAK frame), then the primary polls the next secondary in the same manner until it finds one with data to send. When the response is positive (a data frame), the primary reads the frame and returns an acknowledgment (ACK frame), verifying its receipt.

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