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CSMA/CA (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance) is a protocol for carrier transmission in 802.11 networks. Unlike CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detect) which deals with transmissions after a collision has occurred, CSMA/CA acts to prevent collisions before they happen.
In CSMA/CA, as soon as a node receives a packet that is to be sent, it checks to be sure the channel is clear (no other node is transmitting at the time). If the channel is clear, then the packet is sent.
The RTS/CTS parameters along with NAV help in collision avoidance during an 802.11 wireless interaction. It also solves the issue of Hidden Node partially.