ARCNET is a widely-installed local area network (LAN) technology that uses a token-bus scheme for managing line sharing among the workstations and other devices connected on the LAN. The LAN server continuously circulates empty message frames on a bus (a line in which every message goes through every device on the line and a device uses only those with its address). When a device wants to send a message, it inserts a "token" (this can be as simple as setting a token bit to 1) in an empty frame in which it also inserts the message. When the destination device or LAN server reads the message, it resets the token to 0 so that the frame can be reused by any other device. The scheme is very efficient when traffic increases since all devices are afforded the same opportunity to use the shared network.

ARCNET can use coaxial cable or fiber optic lines. ARCNET is one of four major LAN technologies, which also include Ethernet, token ring and FDDI.

This was last updated in October 2006

Continue Reading About ARCNET

Dig Deeper on Network Infrastructure