Types of Network Topologies

In communication networks, a topology is a usually schematic description of the arrangement of a network, including its nodes and connecting lines.  Network topology refers to the physical or logical layout of a network. It defines the way different nodes are placed and interconnected with each other; alternately, network topology may describe how the data is transferred between these nodes. There are two types of network topologies: physical and logical. Physical topology emphasizes the physical layout of the connected devices and nodes, while the logical topology focuses the pattern of data transfer between network nodes.
Types of physical Topology:
  1. Liner bus Topology.
  2. Star Topology.
  3. Ring Topology.
  4. Tree Topology.
  5. Mesh Topology.
1. Liner bus Topology: All the devices/nodes are connected sequentially to the same backbone called bus or transmission line. This is a simple, low-cost topology, but its single point of failure presents a risk.

Advantages of Liner Bus Topology:

  •   i. Easy to connect a computer or peripheral to a linear bus.
  •  ii. Requires less cable length than a star topology.
  • iii. It is best-suited for small networks.
  • iv. It costs very less.
Disadvantages of liner bus topology:
  •  i. Entire network shuts down if there is a break in the main cable.
  • ii. Terminators are required at both ends of the backbone cable.
  • iii. Difficult to identify the problem if the entire network shuts down.
2. Star Topology: All the nodes in the network are connected to a central device like a hub or switch via cables. Failure of individual nodes or cables does not necessarily create downtime in the network but the failure of a central device can. This topology is the most preferred and popular model.

Advantages of a Star Topology:

  •   i. Easy to install and wire.
  •  ii. No disruptions to the network then connecting or removing devices.
  • iii. Easy to detect faults and to remove parts.
Disadvantages of a Star Topology:
  •   i. Requires more cable length than a linear topology.
  •  ii. If the hub or concentrator fails, nodes attached are disabled.
  • iii. More expensive than linear bus topologies because of the cost of the hubs, etc.
3. Ring Topology: All devices are connected to one another in the shape of a closed loop, so that each device is connected directly to two other devices, one on either side of it. Ring topologies are relatively expensive and difficult to install, but they offer high bandwidth and can span large distances.

Advantages of ring topology:

  •   i. It is relatively easy to install and reconfigure.
  •  ii. Easy to identify the problem if the entire network shuts down.
  • iii. Additional components do not affect the performance of network.
  • iv. Each computer has equal access to resources.

Disadvantages of ring topology:

  •   i. Only one machine can transmit on the network at a time.
  •  ii. If one workstation or port goes down, the entire network gets affected.
  • iii. Network is highly dependent on the wire which connects different components.

4. Tree Topology: The tree network topology uses two or more star networks connected together. The central computers of the star networks are connected to a main bus. Thus, a tree network is a bus network of star networks.

Advantages of tree topology:

  •   i. Point-to-point wiring for individual segments.
  •  ii. Supported by several hardware and software venders.
  • iii. Fault identification is easy.
  • iv. The network can be expanded by the addition of secondary nodes.

Disadvantages of tree topology:

  •  i. Overall length of each segment is limited by the type of cabling used.
  •  ii. If the backbone line breaks, the entire segment goes down.
  • iii. More difficult to configure and wire than other topologies.

5. Mesh Topology: The topology in each node is directly connected to some or all the other nodes present in the network.

Advantages of mesh topology:

  •   i. Eliminates traffic problems in links sharing.
  •  ii. If one link becomes unusable, it does not incapacitate the entire system.
  • iii. It has privacy and security.
  • iv. Point-to-point link make fault identification and fault isolation easy.

Disadvantages of mesh topology:

  •   i. Installation and reconnection are difficult.
  •  ii. The hardware required to connect each link (I/O ports and cable) is expensive.
  • iii. It is generally too costly and complex for practical networks.


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