Static Allocation Methods

As you read this section, consider the following questions: What is static allocation? What are some of the static allocation methods utilized in the datalink layer to share resources in a computer network? Describe each method and how each handles the available resources.

6.2.1 Static allocation methods

A first solution to share the available resources among all the devices attached to one Local Area Network is to define, a priori, the distribution of the transmission resources among the different devices. If N devices need to share the transmission capacities of a LAN operating at b Mbps, each device could be allocated a bandwidth of \frac{b}{N} Mbps.

Limited resources need to be shared in other environments than Local Area Networks. Since the first radio trans- missions by Marconi more than one century ago, many applications that exchange information through radio signals have been developed. Each radio signal is an electromagnetic wave whose power is centered around a given frequency. The radio spectrum corresponds to frequencies ranging between roughly 3 KHz and 300 GHz. Frequency allocation plans negotiated among governments reserve most frequency ranges for specific applications such as broadcast radio, broadcast television, mobile communications, aeronautical radio navigation, amateur ra- dio, satellite, etc. Each frequency range is then subdivided into channels and each channel can be reserved for a given application, e.g. a radio broadcaster in a given region.

FrequencyDivision Multiplexing (FDM) is a static allocation scheme in which a frequency is allocated to each device attached to the shared medium. As each device uses a different transmission frequency, collisions cannot occur. In optical networks, a variant of FDM called Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) can be used. An optical fiber can transport light at different wavelengths without interference. With WDM, a different wavelength is allocated to each of the devices that share the same optical fiber.

Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) is a static bandwidth allocation method that was initially defined for the tele- phone network. In the fixed telephone network, a voice conversation is usually transmitted as a 64 Kbps signal. Thus, a telephone conservation generates 8 KBytes per second or one byte every 125 microsecond. Telephone conversations often need to be multiplexed together on a single line. For example, in Europe, thirty 64 Kbps voice signals are multiplexed over a single 2 Mbps (E1) line. This is done by using Time Division Multiplexing (TDM). TDM divides the transmission opportunities into slots. In the telephone network, a slot corresponds to 125 mi- croseconds. A position inside each slot is reserved for each voice signal. The figure below illustrates TDM on a link that is used to carry four voice conversations. The vertical lines represent the slot boundaries and the letters the different voice conversations. One byte from each voice conversation is sent during each 125 microsecond slot. The byte corresponding to a given conversation is always sent at the same position in each slot.

Figure 6.4: Time-division multiplexing

TDM as shown above can be completely static, i.e. the same conversations always share the link, or dynamic. In the latter case, the two endpoints of the link must exchange messages specifying which conversation uses which byte inside each slot. Thanks to these signalling messages, it is possible to dynamically add and remove voice conversations from a given link.

TDM and FDM are widely used in telephone networks to support fixed bandwidth conversations. Using them in Local Area Networks that support computers would probably be inefficient. Computers usually do not send information at a fixed rate. Instead, they often have an on-off behaviour. During the on period, the computer tries to send at the highest possible rate, e.g. to transfer a file. During the off period, which is often much longer than the on period, the computer does not transmit any packet. Using a static allocation scheme for computers attached to a LAN would lead to huge inefficiencies, as they would only be able to transmit at \frac{1}{N} of the total bandwidth during their on period, despite the fact that the other computers are in their off period and thus do not need to transmit any information. The dynamic MAC algorithms discussed in the remainder of this chapter aim solve this problem.

Source: Olivier Bonaventure,
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Last modified: Thursday, August 27, 2020, 10:03 PM