Non-Broadcast Multiple Access

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What Does Non-Broadcast Multiple Access Mean?

Non-broadcast Multiple Access (NBMA) refers to a computer network to which several hosts are connected. However, the data are transmitted only directly from one computer to another single host across a switched fabric or over a virtual circuit. NBMA networks support broadcast or multicast traffic manually.


There are four network types in Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) communication protocol:

  • NBMA
  • Point-to-point
  • Point-to-multipoint
  • Broadcast

Techopedia Explains Non-Broadcast Multiple Access

NBMA networks work opposite of broadcast networks.

In broadcast networks, various computers as well as other devices are connected to a shared network cable or other medium. When a computer sends frames, each node on the network listens to the frames; however, only the node to which the frames are sent receives the frames. Hence, the frames are broadcast.

NBMA is mainly employed on networks that do not have broadcast or multicast capabilities. Frame Relay, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), home power line networking, and X.25 are some common examples of NBMA network technologies.

In NBMA networks, a technique known as split horizon route advertisement should be implemented by distance-vector routing protocols to prevent routing loops. This protocol family depends on link layer broadcasting to enable route advertisement propagation.

Therefore, if this feature is absent, it should be emulated with a series of unicast transmissions; however, this may lead to receiver node transmitting a route advertisement straight back to the node from where it has just received the same.

Next Hop Resolution Protocol (NHRP) is employed to find the NBMA subnetwork addresses of the NBMA next hop towards a public inter-networking layer address.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.