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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.

Token-Ring specifications are found under the IEEE 802.5 specifications. Token-Ring operates at the Data Link layer of the OSI model (specifically the MAC sublayer of the Data Link layer). Token-Ring implementations often use Type 1 shielded cabling (limiting ring membership to 250 devices) or Category 5 twisted pair cabling (limited ring membership to 72 devices).


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