Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm writing a paper for school on Token Ring, but I'm having trouble discerning something. From what I understand, there are two types of Token Ring networks: wired, and star-wired.

I understand that a "star-wired" configuration requires a MAU that all the clients connect to. But in a "wired" configuration, is a MAU involved anywhere? Or does each computer just connect to it's siblings directly?

I've researched on the internet, but the closest thing I can find are abstract diagrams that don't say for certain whether or not a MAU is involved, and my textbook glosses over the matter.

share|improve this question
Ouch...Token Ring? I would personlly rther write pper on rfc 1149. – EBGreen Jan 18 '12 at 20:07
I actually picked it because I thought the Token Passing protocol was very cool and seemed like it would be fun to learn more about. :) – Mr. JavaScript Jan 18 '12 at 20:16
I'm not trying to imply that it is a difficult protocol, it just isn't particularly prevalent any more. – EBGreen Jan 18 '12 at 20:24
I agree...which seems funny to me, because in practice, it actually has a higher applied throughput then 3/4 of the Ethernet in the United States. :) – Mr. JavaScript Jan 18 '12 at 20:31
Ahh yes. Technically it is superior. Installing it is a pain (compared to Ethernet) which is why it lost. – shufler Jan 19 '12 at 0:08
up vote 2 down vote accepted

All Token Ring networks I encountered were star wired. The MAU is required. In theory you could directly connect two PCs together but for more than two you need an MAU.

here's some scribbles I did when I worked at a place that had TR

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

The Early MAUs had no electronics in them, just passive reed-relays that opened a connection as the cable was inserted. When you removed a cable the relays shorted the outlet to let the tokens across.

enter image description here

The last one is representative of one floor of a building I worked in.

The 2715s had 16 lobe ports (for PCS) 4 expansion ports (for other 2715s in a stack) and RO & RI ports (ring-out, ring-in) for connecting to other parts of the building. There could be several stacks of 2715s, each serving a separate part of the floor. The RI & RO ports were cabled back to a floor concentrator. The thing at bottom right is a router which, in this case, simply bridged each floor ring to a backbone ring that linked all the floors and the server-room.

share|improve this answer
This. Is. AWESOME! :D – Mr. JavaScript Jan 19 '12 at 1:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.