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Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA)

What Does Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) Mean?

Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) is a network protocol that listens to or senses network signals on the carrier/medium before transmitting any data. CSMA is implemented in Ethernet networks with more than one computer or network device attached to it. CSMA is part of the Media Access Control (MAC) protocol.


Techopedia Explains Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA)

CSMA works on the principle that only one device can transmit signals on the network, otherwise a collision will occur resulting in the loss of data packets or frames. CSMA works when a device needs to initiate or transfer data over the network. Before transferring, each CSMA must check or listen to the network for any other transmissions that may be in progress. If it senses a transmission, the device will wait for it to end. Once the transmission is completed, the waiting device can transmit its data/signals. However, if multiple devices access it simultaneously and a collision occurs, they both have to wait for a specific time before reinitiating the transmission process.

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