Channel access method

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In telecommunications and computer networks, a channel access method or multiple access method allows several terminals connected to the same multi-point transmission medium to transmit over it and to share its capacity. Examples of shared physical media are wireless networks, bus networks, ring networks, hub networks and half-duplex point-to-point links.

A channel-access scheme is based on a multiplexing method, that allows several data streams or signals to share the same communication channel or physical medium. Multiplexing is in this context provided by the physical layer. Note that multiplexing also may be used in full-duplex point-to-point communication between nodes in a switched network, which should not be considered as multiple access.

A channel-access scheme is also based on a multiple access protocol and control mechanism, also known as media access control (MAC). This protocol deals with issues such as addressing, assigning multiplex channels to different users, and avoiding collisions. The MAC-layer is a sub-layer in Layer 2 (Data Link Layer) of the OSI model and a component of the Link Layer of the TCP/IP model.

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