Updated April 6, 2023
Difference between Token ring vs Ethernet
Token ring is a star-shaped topology that is used to transfer the data frames from one workstation to another in the ring with the help of a special signal known as a token. Only one workstation is allowed to speak at a time, and the transmission takes place in a unidirectional manner. It uses the telephone wire or Shielded Twisted Pair in order to transmit the data.
Ethernet is a cheaper, fast-speed topology that is used to transmit the data to various workstations. It does not follow the token’s permission mechanism as all the workstations are allowed to speak when the network is free. It uses the UTP wiring in the physical later. The mechanism which is used to transmit the data in Ethernet is CSMA/CD.
Head to Head Comparison Between Token ring vs Ethernet (Infographics)
Below are the top differences between Token ring vs Ethernet
Key Differences between Token ring vs Ethernet
Below given are some of the Key differences between Token ring and Ethernet:
1. Talking about the cost, the price of installing the Token Ring is much higher not in terms of the wiring but the hubs, which are around 15$ network cards and 40$ hubs. Along with this, the cost of network wiring is added according to the requirement of the workstations, whereas Ethernet is cheaper in installation, which the user can easily afford to use in any workplace.
2. One of the important difference between the two topologies, i.e. Token Ring and Ethernet, is that Token Ring uses the token in order to transmit the data frame in the ring (which means that the station can pass the data frame only when it has the token). Only one workstation can talk at a time. Workstation can talk only when their turn arrives; else they are not supposed to talk in the network. In contrast, Ethernet uses the CSMA/ CD, which stands for Collision Sense Multiple Access/ Collision Detection mechanism in which if all the workstations talk at the same time, wait for the random time and then continues the same. Theoretically, it is assumed that one workstation will talk at a time, and the other workstations will listen to it, remain silent, and will start talking once the other is finished.
3. One other important distinction between the Token Ring and Ethernet topology is that in the Token ring, the station waits for permission to speak, but it can forward all the traffic it is receiving until it gets one. Though there are some strict rules and the time limit before the station is allowed to speak, whereas there is no permission issue in Ethernet, the workstation always assumes that it has the permission to speak. It just transmits once it finds the wire idle. If two or more stations do it at the same time, ’collision’ happens, and the data is lost, they wait for a random period of time and again try sending the data.
4. Token ring topology specifies that the special signal/token is shared by the device or the computers on the network, whereas Ethernet topology specifies that there should be no control on when the data should be transmitted. It can be transmitted anytime when the network is free.
5. In Ethernet topology, the flow remains the same and unaffected even if the load becomes less or more, whereas, in Token ring topology, the flow gets affected and becomes slow when the load increases in the network as the data is transmitted one by one through a single workstation.
6. If we talk about the direction, it is understood from the working mechanism of both the topologies that Token ring flow is unidirectional as the data frames are transmitted from one workstation to another as it receives the token, whereas, in Ethernet topology, there is no direction of flow of data frames as any of the workstation can transmit the data if it finds the network idle (flow can change over time as the workstation needs to close itself or shut down if the collision happens and continue the same after the random period of time).
Comparison table between Token ring vs Ethernet
Below given is the comparison table showing the head to head comparison between Token ring and Ethernet:
|1||When we talk about the Physical layer, the Token ring uses the Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) wiring.||Ethernet, on the other hand, uses UTP wiring.|
|2||Priority handling is followed by the workstations in the Token Ring while transmission of data frames.||Ethernet does not employ any priority to the workstations while transmission of data.|
|3||In terms of Pricing, Token Ring is costlier than Ethernet.||Ethernet is much cheaper (around many percent) than that of Token Ring.|
|4||For the transmission of data frames in the Token ring, a star-shaped topology is used.||In order to transmit the data, Ethernet uses the Bus topology.|
|5||As the name indicates, a token ring uses the token mechanism in order to transmit the data frames. Each workstation needs to have a token in order to transmit the data.||Ethernet, on the other hand, uses the CSMA/ CD (Carrier- sense multiple access/ collision detection) mechanisms in order to transmit the data where there is no need for a token. Each workstation transmits the data once it finds the network free.|
|6||As per the IEEE standard, the Token ring is defined in 802.5 standards.||Ethernet is defined in IEEE 802.3 standard.|
|7||Token rings are deterministic in nature.||Ethernet is non-deterministic in nature.|
|8||The token ring contains the routing information.||Ethernet does not contain the routing information.|
|9||Token rings are quite slow in terms of speed of data transmission, which is probably 16M bit/ sec.||Ethernet is many times faster in terms of speed of data transmission, which is probably 100M bit/ sec.|
The above description clearly explains the Token ring and Ethernet and the major differences between the two. Both the topologies use different approaches to transmit the data. Moreover, token rings are somewhat an older technology and are more expensive than Ethernet. Today, in various scenarios, the token ring is still considered the right topology and is used widely.
This is a guide to Token ring vs Ethernet. Here we discuss the Token ring vs Ethernet key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –