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Multistation Access Unit

What Does Multistation Access Unit Mean?

A multistation access unit (MSAU) is a central device/hub used in computer networking to connect network nodes or computer or devices with local area networks. MSAU provides a means of data-sharing between different computing devices in an organization.


The working mechanism of MSAU is based on token-ring network topology in which all computers and computing devices are connected with each other in a logical circle. In this system, connectivity with other computers remains stable and users continue to communicate with each other when one computer or computing device fails.

Also known as a media access unit (MAU), which is often called an Ethernet transceiver.

Techopedia Explains Multistation Access Unit

A multistation access unit is a standalone device or connector that is used to connect devices attached to a network over a token-ring network. Each MSAU includes eight ports.

There are two types of MSAU:

Active MSAU
It does not provide any kind of power to the network or to signals.

  • Passive MSAU
    It is powered and is used to regenerate or boost network traffic signals.
    An MSAU has the following characteristics:

    Fault Tolerance -An MSAU provides fault tolerance in an established network. This can prevent many network device failures.
    Traffic Bypass-If any computer goes down, the MSAU bypasses the network traffic to provide uninterrupted communication between network nodes.

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