The invention describes a method for transmitting and forwarding data packets over a packet switching and shared media networks. The switches of the network maintain a common time reference (CTR), which is obtained either from an external source (such as GPS--Global Positioning System) or is generated and distributed internally. The time intervals are arranged in simple periodicity and complex periodicity (like seconds and minutes of a clock). The present invention provides for synchronous switches to be accessed by end-stations that are located on a shared media network. The shared media network can be of various types, including but not limited to: IEEE P1394 and Ethernet for desktop computers and room area networks, cable modem head-end (e.g., DOCSIS, IEEE 802.14), wireless base-station (e.g., IEEE 802.11), and Storage Area Network (SAN) (e.g., FC-AL, SSA). The end-station can be of corresponding various types including but not limited to: for IEEE 1394: video cameras, VCR and video disk, for cable modem: set-top box with multiple Ethernet connections to video cameras, VCRs, and for wireless: desktop computers and mobile units, and for SAN; disk drives, tape drives, RAM disks, electronic disks, and other storage devices.
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