This article is focused on giving you a brief overview of network topologies.

Let’s move on,

Network topology is the way in which features such as network links, nodes, switches, laptops, computers, Wi-Fi access points, other network devices & connections in your network are physically or logically arranged relative to each other.

There are two main approaches to network topology,

1. Physical network topology — The physical connections and interconnections between nodes and the network.

2. Logical network topology — The conceptual understanding of how the network is set up and why & how data flows through it.

The logical approach of the network topology is a bit more abstract and strategic than the physical approach.

Network topology can be divided into 5 main categories base on the overall network size, several purposes & user objectives.

· Mesh topology

· Star topology

· Bus topology

· Ring topology

· Hybrid topology

Mesh Topology

Each device is connected via a specific point connector to each other device on the network in Mesh topology. Even though we can see a web-like structure, the link carries data only for the two connected devices.

There are two modes of data transmission,

· Routing — Node logic is used to determine the shortest distance from the source to the destination.

· Flooding — Information is sent to all nodes in the network without determining the shortest distance.

Mesh Topology

Advantages

· No data traffic issues, as the link is only for two devices.

· Reliable and stable — the failure of one link does not affect communication between other links and other devices on the network.

· Mistakes are easy to spot.

· Secure — Unauthorized access is not possible as there is a point-to-point connection.

Disadvantages

· More amount of wire required to connect each system.

· Issues in scalability.

· The required I/O ports must be large.

Star Topology

Star topology allows the management of the entire network connection through a signal hub. Each node is connected independently to the central hub, and if one goes down, the other network operates without any impact, making star topology a stable and secure network configuration. In addition, devices can be added, removed, and modified without leaving the entire network offline.

Star Topology

Advantages

· Each device requires only one I / O port and must be connected to a hub with one link.

· Each device only needs to be connected to the hub, so less cable is required.

· Installation is easy.

· Stable — if one link fails, the other links work fine.

· Mistakes are easy to spot.

Disadvantages

· None of the devices can operate without a hub.

· The hub should regularly maintain and it needs more resources as the center of the system.

Bus Topology

The bus topology aligns all the devices in the network through a single cable running in one direction from one end of the network to another. The data flow in the network follows the path of the cable and travels in one direction. This is also known as backbone topology.

Bus Topology

Advantages

· Installation is easy.

· Fewer cables are required than mesh and star topology.

Disadvantages

· It cannot be scaled as there is a limit to the number of nodes you can connect with the spinal cable.

· Mistakes are hard to spot.

Ring Topology

Each device is connected to two devices on either side of it and forms a ring-shaped structure. In-ring topology, data can travel through the network in one direction or both and each device has exactly two neighbors.

Ring Topology

Advantages

· Installation is easy.

· Adding or removing a device from this is easy to manage, all you need to change are two links.

Disadvantages

· Data traffic problems — data circulation is flowing as a ring.

· Connector failures — The signal will not proceed due to failure as the entire network may fail.

Hybrid Topology

Hybrid topology combines two or more different topographical structures. As an example, when bus topology and star topology are combined, it gives a hybrid topology called tree topology. The hybrid topology is common in large companies where it has several individual departments with personalized network locations.

Hybrid Topology

Advantages

· Other computer networks can be scaled as they can be further connected to existing networks with different locations.

· Can choose the topology based on requirements.

Disadvantages

· Difficult to install.

· Maintenance is high as the design is complex.

· Mistakes are hard to spot.

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Yeah, Let me end this topic here. I guess my effort is not in vain. And I look forward to seeing you soon with another interesting topic.

Have a nice day! take care!

Undergraduate | Faculty of Information technology, University of Moratuwa | Information technology and management | Josephian | Web developer