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A general model is presented for synchronous protocols that resolve conflicts among message transmissions to a multiple-access broadcast channel. An information-theoretic method is used now to show that if only finitely many types of conflicts can be distinguished by the protocol, utilization of the channel at rates approaching capacity is impossible. A random-coding argument is used to show that if the number of conflicting transmissions can be determined (which requires distinguishing infinitely many types of conflicts) then utilization of the channel at rates arbitrarily close to capacity can be achieved.
Date of Publication: Mar 1981