Different Types of Computer Network Topologies

Different Types of Computer Network Topologies

A network topology refers to the way in which the various elements present in a communication network—such as links and nodes—are arranged. Currently, there are five primary types of network topologies which are known as: Mesh, Ring, Star, Bus, and Hybrid. To learn more about the different types of computer network topologies, continue reading.

Mesh Network Topology

In a mesh topology, each device in the network is connected to another device through a dedicated point-to-point link. Each dedicated link only carries data for the two devices that are connected. As such, if there are n devices in a network, there are n(n-1)/2 physical channels to link them. Because there is a dedicated link between two devices, one of the main advantages of a mesh network topology is that there aren’t any data traffic issues. In addition, one link failure won’t impact any of the other links, which makes it reliable and robust.

Ring Topology

A ring topology includes devices that are each connected to two neighboring devices. Because the last device is connected to the first, the topology forms a circle, or ring. To send data to other devices in the network, the data must be sent in one direction. Each device has a repeater so that it can forward the data until it reaches the intended device. A ring topology is typically easy to install, scalable, and redundant.

Star Network Topology

A star topology consists of devices that are all connected to a single hub through dedicated connections. As such, if there are n devices in a network, and the number of physical channels to connect them is also n.

Due to their simplicity, star network topologies are relatively easy to set up. However, because the devices are only connected to the hub and not each other, direct communication between devices is not possible. Instead, data must first be sent to the hub, which will then transmit it to the desired device. Thus, if the hub goes down, the entire network will fail to operate.

Bus Network Topology

In a bus network topology, every device in the network is connected to a single main cable through drop lines. This network topology transmits data in a single direction from one end of the cable to the other. Bus network topologies are cost-effective, easy to understand, and often used in small networks. However, if the main cable fails, the entire network will fail, and fault detection is often difficult.

Hybrid Topology

A hybrid topology is a combination of two or more different types of topologies. For example, a hybrid topology may consist of a ring topology that is used in one department of a company and a mesh topology that is used in another to form one complex topology. By combining two or more topologies together, a network is able to take advantage of the benefits of multiple topologies. However, it is important to remember that the network will also inherit the disadvantage of its combined topology types as well.

FAQ

What is mesh network topology?

In a mesh topology, each device in the network is connected to another device through a dedicated point-to-point link. Each dedicated link only carries data for the two devices that are connected. As such, if there are n devices in a network, there are n(n-1)/2 physical channels to link them.

What is star network topology?

A star topology consists of devices that are all connected to a single hub through dedicated connections. As such, if there are n devices in a network, and the number of physical channels to connect them is also n.

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