This paper classifies local area network (LAN) technologies according to their topology and access method. The characteristics of the popular LAN technologies (namely Ring/Token passing, Ring/Message slots and Bus/Contention) are discussed. Analytic models are developed to estimate the mean packet delay time of each technology as a function of the network loading for various packet sizes and number of active stations. It is found that in the case of slotted rings (but not the other two technologies) an optimal value of the number of active stations exists which minimizes the mean delay time at all load levels given a packet arrival rate. The LAN technologies are compared with regard to their performance, reliability, availability, maintainability, extensibility, fairness and complexity. .br It is hoped that potential users may be able to select the appropriate technology for their intended applications based or their specific performance requirements and operation environment. As well, LAN designers may benefit from the insight provided with the analysis.
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