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It refers to the cabling and signaling scheme that is implemented in a network Some of the architectures are: Ethernet ARCnet

Token Ring ATM AppleTalk

It is developed by Xerox Corporation (USA). Each computer in the network uses the CSMA / CD to access the network media.As it allows only one computer at a time to use network media. CSMA/CD-Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection. It is also called as Network Access Protocol

NIC in the computer senses whether there are any signals in the media.

If there are no signals then NIC starts transmitting data.

When another computer wants to transmit data, it waits until the media is free, then it starts transmission of data. When two computers transmits data at the same time, then a collision occurs and data signals are lost. Both computers wait for a random period and then retransmit data when the media is free. It offers a data transmission speed of 10 Mbps.

Commonly used Ethernet Cabling Systems.

10Base5 - It uses thicknet or a thick coaxial cable as media 10Base2 - It uses thinnet or a thin coaxial cable as media. 10BaseT - It uses Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable as media.

10BaseFL - It uses single or multimode optical fiber cable as media

IBM developed this method. It is highly reliable and robust. It is more complex than Ethernet. Separate cables that connect to a central hub called as an MSAU (Multi station Access Unit) connect each computer in the network. A Ring passes a free token( a special chunk of data called as frame) around the ring in one direction.

Any computer that wants to transmits data must capture the token, it attaches source and destination address and sends the data on the network.

As soon as the destination computer receives the data, it switches two bits and retransmits the frame.
When the frame reaches the source computer, it can detect whether the data had reached the destination by observing two bits, which were switched. Each computer gets a specified amount of time to use the network media. It has in-built fault tolerance and auto-reconfiguration facility, it is done by NIC.