Noiseless and Noisy Channels

Noiseless Channel

An ideal channel in which no frames are lost, duplicated or corrupted is regarded as Noiseless Channel.

Simplest Protocol

  • In simplest protocol, there is no flow control and error control mechanism. It is a unidirectional protocol in which data frames travel in only one direction (from sender to receiver).
  • Also, the receiver can immediately handle any received frame with a processing time that is small enough to be negligible.
  • The protocol consists of two distinct procedures :a sender and receiver. The  sender runs in the data link layer of the source machine and the receiver runs in the data link layer of the destination machine. No sequence number or acknowledgements are used here.

Stop and Wait Protocol

  • The simplest retransmission protocol is stop-and-wait.
  • Transmitter (Station A) sends a frame over the communication line and then waits for a positive or negative acknowledgement from the receiver (station B).
  • If no error occurs in the transmission, station B sends a positive acknowledgement (ACK) to station A.
  • Now, the transmitter starts to send the next frame. If frame is received at station B with errors, then a negative acknowledgement(NAK) is sent to station A. In this case, station 'A' must retransmit the old packet in a new frame.
  • There is also a possibility that the information frames or ACKs may get lost.
  • Then, the sender is equipped with a timer. If no recognizable acknowledgement is received when the timer expires at the end of time out interval,  the same frame is sent again.
  • The sender which sends one frame and then waits for an acknowledgement before process is known as stop and wait.
start and stop protocol

Noisy Channels

Consider the normal situation of a communication channel that makes errors. Frames may be either damaged or lost completely.

1. Stop and Wait Automatic Repeat Request
  • In a noisy communication channel, if a frame is damaged in transit, the receiver hardware will detect this when it computes the checksum.
  • If a damaged frame is received, it will be discarded and transmitter will retransmit the same frame after receiving a proper acknowledgement.
  • If the acknowledgement frame gets lost and data link layer on 'A' eventually times out. Not having received an ACK, it assumes that its data frame was lost or damaged and sends the frame containing packet 1 again. This duplicate frame also arrives at data link layer on 'B', thus part of file will be duplicated and protocol is said to be failed.
  • A typical approach to solve this problem is the provision of a sequence number in the header of the message.
  • The receiver can then check the sequence number determine if the message is a duplicate since only message is transmitted at any time.
  • The sending and receiving station needs only 1-bit alternating sequence of '0' or '1' to maintain the relationship of the transmitted message and its ACK/ NAK.
  • A modulo-2 numbering scheme is used where the frames are alternatively label  with '0' or '1' and positive acknowledgements are of the form ACK 0 and ACK 1.
2. Sequence numbers
  • The protocol specifies that frames need to be numbered. This is done by using sequence number. A field is added to the  data frame to hold the sequence number of that frame.
  • The sequence numbers are based on modulo-2 arithmetic.
  • Stop-and-wait ARQ is the simplest mechanism for error and flow control.