Token Passing

A network protocol used commonly in ring networks in which a token, or a special pattern or packet of bits that continuously circulates around the network, passing each connected node. If a particular node wants to transmit a message, it waits for the token to come around, which then picks up the message and carries it round to the destination. Possession of the token provides exclusive access to the network for the duration of the transmission. When the recipient of a message wants to reply, that node waits for the token to come around yet again, and the new message is sent. One particular network, developed by IBM, that utilizes a token passing protocol is Token Ring. (See also Network Topology and Network Protocol.)

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