A broadband-based bus network that supports dynamic bandwidth allocation among groups of nodes in a large, integrated voice/data/video system is proposed. The nodes may each transmit voice, data and video traffic and are partitioned by location and function into clusters; each cluster is referred to as a local area network (LAN). The bandwidth is frequency-divided into bands dedicated to particular LANs and a global pool of bands that may be acquired by any of the LANs. The band-sharing policy is implemented by means of a fully-distributed, reliable mechanism for obtaining and releasing bands. A traffic-placement method for distributing each node's traffic over its LAN's currently-held bands is also described and the reliability and robustness of the band-sharing mechanism is discussed in detail.