In a logical ring topology, each node in turn receives a frame. If the frame is not addressed to the node, the node passes the frame to the next node. This allows a ring to use a controlled media access control technique called token passing.

Nodes in a logical ring topology remove the frame from the ring, examine the address, and send it on if it is not addressed for that node. In a ring, all nodes around the ring (between the source and destination node) examine the frame.

There are multiple media access control techniques that could be used with a logical ring, depending on the level of control required. For example, only one frame at a time is usually carried by the media. If there is no data being transmitted, a signal (known as a token) may be placed on the media and a node can only place a data frame on the media when it has the token.

Remember that the data link layer "sees" a logical ring topology. The actual physical cabling topology could be another topology.

Play the animation to see how nodes access the media in a logical ring topology.