Statistical Time Division Multiplexing
In another analogy, compare TDM to a train with 32 railroad cars. Each car is owned by a different freight company, and every day the train leaves with the 32 cars attached. If one of the companies has cargo to send, the car is loaded. If the company has nothing to send, the car remains empty but stays on the train. Shipping empty containers is not very efficient. TDM shares this inefficiency when traffic is intermittent, because the time slot is still allocated even when the channel has no data to transmit.
Statistical time-division multiplexing (STDM) was developed to overcome this inefficiency. STDM uses a variable time slot length allowing channels to compete for any free slot space. It employs a buffer memory that temporarily stores the data during periods of peak traffic. STDM does not waste high-speed line time with inactive channels using this scheme. STDM requires each transmission to carry identification information (a channel identifier).