Token ring definition
A token ring is a communication pathway used in local area networks (LAN) to connect devices and allow them to exchange data. In a token ring network, all devices are connected in a logical ring, with data traveling from one device to another in a circular path. The token ring technology was created by IBM and has now largely been replaced by Ethernet.
How a token ring works
- Each device on the local area network is connected in a logical ring structure.
- A message and a destination address are inserted into an empty token.
- The devices take turns transferring the token around the network.
- Only the device holding the token can transmit it to another device at a given time.
- The token circulates around the network until it reaches the device the data is traveling to.
- The destination device receives the data and sends a confirmation back to the sender.
- The device empties the token so it can be used by another device.
Token ring benefits
- Controlled access. With a token ring, each node (or device) gets a turn to transmit data in a predictable manner.
- High reliability. Token ring networks are reliable and can operate even if one of the nodes fails or is removed from the network.
- Fair bandwidth allocation. Token ring networks allocate bandwidth fairly among all devices.
Token ring drawbacks
- Limited scalability. Token ring networks can be difficult to scale.
- Lower data transfer rates. A token ring typically has lower data transfer rates than other network technologies.