CSMA/CD - The Process

CSMA/CD - The Process

Carrier Sense
In the CSMA/CD access method, all network devices that have messages to send must listen before transmitting.

If a device detects a signal from another device, it will wait for a specified amount of time before attempting to transmit.

When there is no traffic detected, a device will transmit its message. While this transmission is occurring, the device continues to listen for traffic or collisions on the LAN. After the message is sent, the device returns to its default listening mode.

If the distance between devices is such that the latency of one device's signals means that signals are not detected by a second device, the second device may start to transmit, too. The media now has two devices transmitting their signals at the same time. Their messages will propagate across the media until they encounter each other. At that point, the signals mix and the message is destroyed. Although the messages are corrupted, the jumble of remaining signals continues to propagate across the media.

Collision Detection
When a device is in listening mode, it can detect when a collision occurs on the shared media. The detection of a collision is made possible because all devices can detect an increase in the amplitude of the signal above the normal level.

Once a collision occurs, the other devices in listening mode - as well as all the transmitting devices - will detect the increase in the signal amplitude. Once detected, every device transmitting will continue to transmit to ensure that all devices on the network detect the collision.

Jam Signal and Random Backoff
Once the collision is detected by the transmitting devices, they send out a jamming signal. This jamming signal is used to notify the other devices of a collision, so that they will invoke a backoff algorithm. This backoff algorithm causes all devices to stop transmitting for a random amount of time, which allows the collision signals to subside.

After the delay has expired on a device, the device goes back into the "listening before transmit" mode. A random backoff period ensures that the devices that were involved in the collision do not try to send their traffic again at the same time, which would cause the whole process to repeat. But, this also means that a third device may transmit before either of the two involved in the original collision have a chance to re-transmit.

Hubs and Collision Domains
Given that collisions will occur occasionally in any shared media topology - even when employing CSMA/CD - we need to look at the conditions that can result in an increase in collisions. Because of the rapid growth of the Internet:
More devices are being connected to the network.
Devices access the network media more frequently.
Distances between devices are increasing.

Recall that hubs were created as intermediary network devices that enable more nodes to connect to the shared media. Also known as multi-port repeaters, hubs retransmit received data signals to all connected devices, except the one from which it received the signals. Hubs do not perform network functions such as directing data based on addresses.

Hubs and repeaters are intermediary devices that extend the distance that Ethernet cables can reach. Because hubs operate at the Physical layer, dealing only with the signals on the media, collisions can occur between the devices they connect and within the hubs themselves.

Further, using hubs to provide network access to more users reduces the performance for each user because the fixed capacity of the media has to be shared between more and more devices.

The connected devices that access a common media via a hub or series of directly connected hubs make up what is known as a collision domain. A collision domain is also referred to as a network segment. Hubs and repeaters therefore have the effect of increasing the size of the collision domain.

As shown in the figure, the interconnection of hubs form a physical topology called an extended star. The extended star can create a greatly expanded collision domain.

An increased number of collisions reduces the network's efficiency and effectiveness until the collisions become a nuisance to the user.

Although CSMA/CD is a frame collision management system, it was designed to manage collisions for only limited numbers of devices and on networks with light network usage. Therefore, other mechanisms are required when large numbers of users require access and when more active network access is needed.

We will see that using switches in place of hubs can begin to alleviate this problem.
CSMA/CD - The Process
CSMA/CD - The Process
CSMA/CD - The Process
CSMA/CD - The Process
CSMA/CD - The Process
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