ARCnet is a type of network technology used to connect computers and other devices within a local area network (LAN). It was quite popular in the 1980s and early 1990s for its simplicity and efficiency. People used it to connect multiple computers and share resources like files and printers. It was one of the first widely available networking systems for microcomputers.
ARCnet was mostly used by small and medium-sized businesses for basic file sharing, printing, and other office functions. It was known for its reliability and ease of setup, making it a popular choice before the advent of faster technologies like Ethernet.
How ARCnet works:
- ARCnet uses a method called token-passing for managing network access. In this system, a special data packet called a ‘token’ circulates around the network, and a device must have this token to send a message. Token-passing helps prevent data collisions (where two devices try to send messages at the same time).
- ARCnet supports various network configurations, including star, bus, and tree topologies, using different types of cables like coaxial, twisted pair, or later fiber optics.
- Initially, ARCnet supported data transfer rates of 2.5 Mbps, which was quite efficient at the time of its development.