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Network Topology


  • Topology is the way in which computer network is connected.
  • Interconnection configuration to provide efficient communication.
  • Arrangement of nodes, cables and connecting devices.


1) Ring topology

  • Each node connected to each other forming a ring like structure.
  • Data packets travels from node to node as there is single path.
  • Packet travels until it finds the final destination from node to node.
  • Physically it is star topology but logically its a ring topology.
  • Advantages:
    • Does not require a server.
    • Cable failure affects limited users.
    • Acts better in heavy network load.
    • Each node has access to token and opportunity to transmit.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Failure of one node can affect the entire network.
    • Adding, removing or moving nodes affects the network.
    • Wiring is costly and network adapter cards are required.

2) Bus topology:

  • All devices such as server, node, printer are connected to common shared cable called as a bus.
  • T-connectors are used to connect each device.
  • Buses are bidirectional hence all devices are capable to send and receive signals simultaneously.
  • But some buses are unidirectional.
  • Messages passes to each node, if it matches to its address it takes it, else it transmits to the next node.
  • Bus cable is terminated at each end of node by placing terminators to prevent signal reflecting back.
  • Advantages:
    • Failure of one node does not affect the network.
    • Good for smaller network in LAN.
    • Less expensive than star topology.
    • Easy to add devices or peripherals.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Finite over speed and size.
    • Failure of main cable can shutdown the entire network.
    • Terminators are required at both ends.
    • Finding an error in network is difficult.

3) Star topology

  • All nodes are connected to central hub.
  • Hub routes the messages from source to destination.
  • It acts like repeater for data flow
  • Advantages:
    • Easy for installing, wiring and adding or removing nodes.
    • Node failure doesn't affect the network.
    • Simple to detect errors and faults.
    • Good for big network.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Hub failure can shutdown whole network.
    • Expensive cabling is required.

4) Tree topology

  • Central hub or root node is connected to other lower end nodes.
  • Central hub manages and functions each node.
  • Root node act as a server.
  • Lower level nodes can be connected to next lower level.
  • Point-to-point configuration wiring for each node.
  • Advantages:
    • Easy to add or remove node.
    • Can be use for large networks.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Central root or node failure can shut down entire network.
    • Hard for installing and configuring, compare to other topologies.

5) Mesh Topology

  • Dedicated point-to-point link is established between nodes.
  • It requires n(n-1)/2 links to connect n nodes.
  • Advantages:
    • Any node failure doesn't affect the network.
    • Traffic load is very less because of dedicated link.
    • Privacy and security is maintained.
    • Fault detection and isolation is easy.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Lot of cabling and i/o ports are required.
    • Installation and reconfiguring is harder.

Tip Box

Star topology is best suited for office and home network.


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