What are the Different Types of Network Topology?

What are the Different Types of Network Topology?

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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Jan 19, 2024 16:49 IST

Network topology is the physical or logical arrangement of devices and connections in a network. It defines how devices are connected to each other and how data flows through the network. There are mainly two types of computer network topologies: physical and logical.

In this article, we will take a look at different types of network topology. There are two main types of network topology: physical topology and logical topology.

Physical topology: This is one of the types of network topology that provides the layout of computer cables and other network devices.

Logical topology: This topology provides information about the physical design of a network.

In this article, we will discuss in detail the different types of network topology. But, before starting, let’s go through the topics that we will be covering in this article:

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Types of network topologies

There are various types of network topology in a computer network, such as:

• Bus Topology
• Ring Topology
• Mesh Topology
• Tree Topology
• Star Topology
• Hybrid Topology

Let us now go over these topologies one after the other:

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Bus Topology

All devices are connected to a single cable, with terminators at each end.

Bus topology employs a single cable (Bus) to connect all the nodes. The main cable serves as the network’s spine. All nodes in a Bus Topology are linked to the Taps and Drop Lines via the bus. Drop Lines are the connections between the central wire or bus and the nodes in this case. The Taps are the three-way connector that aids in connecting the drop line to the main central cable.

The data travels only in one direction, and when it reaches the far end of the line, the terminator removes it from the line. In a bus topology, one computer acts as a server, and the other computers act as clients. A bus topology example is connecting two floors with a single line.

• Less cabling:  A common wire connects all nodes in a bus topology.
• Less Expensive: Bus topology is less expensive because it uses a common wire.
• Small network: This is best suited for situations where only a few computers are required for connection establishment.
• Upgradeable:  A new node can be added or removed in this topology without affecting the other nodes.

• Reduced signal strength: To connect a more significant number of nodes, we must increase the number of Taps, Drop Lines, and the central cable. And increasing these things will weaken the signal.
• Core failure: If the main central cable becomes damaged or faulty, the entire network will fail.
• Low security: This is a significant security issue because all nodes in the network can hear what data is transmitted to other nodes in the network.

Ring Topology

Devices are connected in a closed loop, with each device connected to two other devices.

Ring Topology is a topology in which each computer is linked to another on both sides. The last computer is linked to the first, forming a ring. This topology enables each computer to have exactly two neighbours.

For example, if Node A wishes to send data to Node D, Node A has two options for doing so. That is to say –

• Node A > Node F > Node E > Node D
• Node A > Node B > Node C > Node D

The central computer in this topology is the monitor station, which is in charge of all operations. Devices use tokens for data transmission between them. The computer station must have the token to transmit data. The token is released when the transmission ends, and other computer stations can use it to send data.

• Token system: Only nodes that have tokens can transfer data.
• Less Cabling: As every node manages the cable to its closest neighbour, it requires less cabling.
• Easier troubleshooting: It is less challenging to manage and install because the nodes or cable flaws are easily discernible.

• Difficult to upgrade: Adding or removing nodes is problematic because it disrupts network activity.
• Failure of a network: When one system crashes, it disturbs the overall network activity.

Mesh Topology

Each device is connected to every other device on the network.

Mesh technology is a network configuration in which you link the computers via various redundant connections. There are numerous routes from one computer to another. It lacks the switch, hub, or any central computer that serves as a point of communication.

The Internet is a mesh topology example. Mesh topology is only suitable for wireless networks, and can you can create it using the formula:

(n*(n-1))/2, where n denotes the number of network nodes.

There are two types of Mesh topology: fully connected mesh topology and partially-connected mesh topology. Each computer in a full mesh topology is linked to all other computers in the network. In contrast, in a partial mesh topology, only specific computers are connected to those with whom they frequently communicate.

• Consistent: Mesh topology networks are reliable because any link failure does not disrupt interaction among connected computers.
• High-speed information exchange: Communication between nodes is extremely fast.
• Easier reconfiguration: Adding new devices would not interfere with the communication of existing devices.

• Cost: A mesh topology has more connected devices, such as a router, and uses more transmission media than other topologies.
• High-maintenance: Mesh topology networks are extensive and challenging to maintain and manage.
• Efficiency: The number of redundant connections in this topology is high, reducing network efficiency.

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Tree Topology

Devices are connected in a hierarchical structure, with a central hub or switch at the top and sub-hubs or switches below it.

Tree topologies are also known as hierarchical topology, as the root node connects all other nodes to form a hierarchy. This topology is known as a Star Bus topology because it combines several star topologies into a single bus. Tree topology is a standard network topology similar to bus and star topologies.

Data flows from top to bottom in this network topology, from the central hub to the secondary hub and then to the devices, or from bottom to top, from the devices to the secondary hub, which then connects to the central hub. It is a multi-point connection with a non-robust topology because the topology crashes if the backbone fails.

• Structuring: It aids in structuring as the tree-like shape allows any node to hold its child. And this can make it much easier to structure the entire network.
• Interconnection: All nodes can connect to the large and intermediate networks.
• Expansion of nodes: An increase of nodes is possible and easily achievable in this network structure.

• Expensive: Managing each node in its child may be inefficient. Cabling costs will rise as well.
• Network failure: If the primary central node or another wire fails, all other nodes may become disconnected.

Star Topology

All devices are connected to a central hub or switch.

A hub connects all computers in this type of network topology. A central node connects all other nodes. You can use this type of network topology on LAN networks due to its low cost and ease of setup.

• Network failure prevention: Only the affected nodes will fail, while the remaining nodes will continue to function.
• Performance: High performance with a small number of nodes and very little network traffic.

• Expensive: The cost of installing star topology is high.
• Slow connection: Heavy network traffic can sometimes significantly slow the bus.

Hybrid Topology

Hybrid topology is a combination of two or more of the basic topologies. For example, a star-bus topology is a hybrid topology that combines the star and bus topologies.

• Multiple advantages: These types of network topology combine the advantages of various topologies into a single topology.
• Scalable: Hybrid networks are easily scalable as you can easily integrate the new hardware components.
• Traffic: These types of network topology can handle a high traffic volume while remaining extremely flexible and dependable.

• Expensive: Because it combines the benefits of multiple topologies into a single topology, this type of topology is quite expensive.
• Complex design: Creating a hybrid topology is a difficult task.

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Which type of network topology is best for you?

The type of network topology that is best for you depends on your specific needs and requirements. Some factors to consider include:

• Cost: Some topologies are more expensive to implement and maintain than others.
• Scalability: How easily can the network be expanded?
• Performance: How well does the network perform under load?
• Reliability: How fault-tolerant is the network?

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which type of network topology is best. The best topology for you will depend on your specific needs and requirements. Consider the factors of cost, scalability, performance, and reliability when making your decision.

FAQs

How many different types of topology are used in a network?

The study of network topology identifies six fundamental topologies: bus, star, ring, mesh, tree, and hybrid.

Which network topology is best for a small business?

The star topology is the best network topology for a small business. It is easy to implement and troubleshoot, and it is scalable enough for most small businesses.

Which Network Topology is the most reliable?

The mesh topology is the most reliable network topology, as data can take multiple paths to its destination. However, it is also the most expensive and complex topology to implement.

What is the most common network topology?

The star topology is the most common network topology. It is easy to implement and troubleshoot, and devices can be added or removed without disrupting the network.

What is a network topology?

The term network topology refers to the logical or physical configurations of nodes and connections within a network.

Which network topology is the most scalable?

The tree topology is the most scalable network topology. It can be easily expanded by adding more hubs or switches to the network.

Which network topology is the best for performance?

The mesh topology offers the best performance, as data can take the shortest path to its destination. However, it is also the most expensive and complex topology to implement.

Which network topology is best for a large enterprise?

The tree topology is the best network topology for a large enterprise. It is scalable and reliable, and it can be used to create a high-performance network.

How do I choose the right network topology for my needs?

The best network topology for you will depend on your specific needs and requirements. Some factors to consider include the size of your network, the type of applications that you will be using, and your budget. You should also consult with a network engineer to get expert advice.