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Chapter 4. BUILDING THE NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE > Understanding IBM Token-Ring

Understanding IBM Token-Ring

IBM Token-Ring was developed by IBM in the middle 1980s with an interest in supplying a fast and reliable alternative to Ethernet. Although IBM Token-Ring (or Token-Ring as we will refer to it in this chapter) networks are wired in a star configuration, Token-Ring actually operates in a logical ring, meaning the central device that connects the computers (a Multistation Access Unit, or MAU ) hosts an internal ring (more about these devices in a moment), where access to the network media is handled by possession of a token that is passed from computer to computer on the ring.

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The MAU is the equivalent of the hub used in Ethernet networks. It provides the central connecting point for the computers on the LAN. MAUs, however, are more sophisticated (and expensive) than Ethernet hubs. The MAU provides the logical ring that supplies the ring topology used by the computers on the LAN as they pass the token.



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