What is Star Topology?

What is Star Topology?

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Mar 7, 2024 15:26 IST

In the world of computer networks, many types of network topology are used to interconnect devices. One of the most popular types of network topology is the star topology, which is widely used in local area networks (LANs) and other small-scale networks.

Star Topology

In this article, we will explore star topology in great detail. But before diving deeper, let's go through the topics we will cover in this article. 

Table of Content (TOC)

What is Star Topology?

A Star topology is a type of network topology in which all the devices or nodes are physically connected to a central node such as a router, switch, or hub. The central node (hub) acts as a server, and the connecting nodes act as clients. 

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Star topology, also called star network, is mainly utilized in home networks (LAN networks). It is so, as it provides a reliable and efficient way to manage network traffic and troubleshoot connectivity issues.

Here's a star topology diagram to help you comprehend better:

Star Topology Diagram

How Does Star Topology in Computer Network Work?

In Star topology, a central device is responsible for the transmission of data among nodes in the network. When data is transmitted in this topology, it is first sent to the central node (hub), which then transfers the data to all the devices on the network. Once the nodes receive the data, they check for the destination address. If the address matches, the data is processed. Otherwise, the data is discarded.

Types of Star Topology

There are mainly two types of star topology:

  • Active star topology: The outer nodes (individual devices or computers connected to the central hub) process the network's data in this topology. They are connected to a single central active hub that regenerates and broadcasts the communication signals. It is best for large-size and large-distance networks. 
  • Passive star topology: The outer nodes do not handle any data. They are connected to a single central passive hub that does not regenerate or reprocess the signals. It is best for small-size and short-distance networks. 

Where are the Applications of Star Network Topology?

Here are some of the primary applications of star network topology:

  • Home Networks: Uses a router as the central node, allowing devices such as computers, smart TVs, and IoT devices to connect to the internet and communicate with each other. 
  • Wireless Networks: Wireless access points (WAPs) act as the central node, with devices connecting to the WAP wirelessly and the WAP being connected to the broader network.  
  • Telecommunications: Distributes signals from a central office to multiple users, seen in cable television networks and Internet service provider (ISP) networks. 
  • Surveillance Systems: Connects cameras to a central recording device or server for centralized management and storage of video feeds. 

Star Topology Advantages and Disadvantages

Here are the advantages of star topology:

  • A device failure (computer, cable) doesn't damage the entire network. Each device has its own dedicated connection, isolating issues.
  • Adding or removing devices requires only a single cable connection to the central hub. There is no need to reconfigure the entire network.
  • Dedicated connections prevent data packets from colliding, leading to smoother network traffic and improved performance.
  • Individual device connections make it harder for unauthorized users to access the network, as they need to breach the central hub/switch security.
  • Isolating problems is easier due to individual connections. Faulty devices or cables can be quickly identified and addressed.
  • Star topology can accommodate various cable types (coaxial, fibre optic) depending on network needs and budget.

Here are the disadvantages of star topology:

  • The central hub is critical. If it fails, the entire network becomes inoperable, impacting all connected devices.
  • Requires more cabling than bus topology, leading to higher installation and maintenance expenses. Central hubs can also be costly, especially for high-performance models.
  • Network performance depends heavily on the capacity and capabilities of the central device. A limited hub can hinder overall network speed and performance.
  • Managing and maintaining the central hub requires more resources and technical expertise than simpler topologies.
  • The star network necessitates extensive cabling, which can be challenging to manage, especially in large or complex layouts. It can lead to tangles, clutter, and potential cable damage.
  • While individual connections offer some security benefits, unauthorized access to the central hub/switch can compromise the entire network.

What is the Main Difference Between Bus and Star Topology?

The main difference between bus and star topology is that all devices are connected to a single cable in a bus topology. In contrast, all devices are connected to a central hub or switch in a star topology. 

In a bus topology, if the cable is damaged, the entire network will be affected, but in a star topology, if one cable or device fails, only that cable or device will be affected. The rest of the network will continue to function normally.

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About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio

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