Media access unit

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An IBM 8228 media access unit

A media access unit (MAU), also known as a multistation access unit (MAU or MSAU) is a device to attach multiple network stations in a star topology as a token ring network, internally wired to connect the stations into a logical ring. MAU contains relays to short out non-operating stations. Multiple MAUs can be connected into a larger ring through their ring in/ring out connectors.

MAU is also called a "ring in a box". The loop that used to make up the ring of the token ring is now integrated into the chip. In token ring, when a link is broken in the ring, the entire network goes down; however with an MAU, the broken circuit is immediately closed off (within 1ms) allowing stations on the ring to have their cords unplugged without disabling the entire network.

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This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.