A wireless data communications network having a number of users communicating from individual remote stations to a central station over a single optical-infrared channel utilizing a two-stage noncontention-based multiple-access communications protocol. During the first stage of the reservation-based polling protocol, the central station provides a synchronization signal to the remote stations to define the start of a "reservation request period," and allocates fixed time slots during which any remote station having a data message to transmit may request access and reserve a portion of the channel for their data messages. During the second stage or "polled data transfer period," the central station polls only those remote stations that have a data message to transmit and have requested access to the channel. In response to the poll, the polled remote stations transmit their data message in their previously-reserved data slots. If desired, the central station may also return an acknowledgement signal to the remote stations upon successful reception of each data message.