Computer Network topology types | Star, Ring, Bus etc.

What are network topologies

Topology is the layout of how a computer network communicates with a different device and there are a couple of different categories of topologies there’s wired and wireless.

First going to learn about the most common wired topologies and the most common wired topology that’s used is the star topology.

Star topology



All computers are connected to a central wiring point such as a hub or a switch all data on a network passes through the central point before continuing to its destination.

One of the main benefits of this topology is that if one computer failed about if there was a break in the cable the other computer would not be affected because each computer has its cable connection.

The disadvantage of the star topology is that if the central hub or switch fails, then all those computers on that central point would be affected here is called a single point from failure if this happens the entire network works down.

Ring topology


This ring topology is a kind of network configuration where each computer is connected toward the shape of a closed-loop or ring. So each computer on here ring has exactly two neighbors for communication purposes.

Each data packet is sent around the ring unit until it reaches its final destination. This kind of topology is rarely used today the advantage of a ring topology is that they are easy to install and easy to install and easy to troubleshoot.

The disadvantage would be that if just one of those computers goes down about if there was a single break in the cable then all data flow would be disrupted.

Bus topology


The bus topology is very, old technology and the ring topology is not used today that much.

That is the kind of network setup wherever each of the computers and network devices is connected to a single cable or backbone. 

And this backbone is a coaxial cable.

The computer connects to this cable using special connectors called BNC which are also known as T connectors.

The advantage of the bus topology is that it is more fairly cheap and easy to implement.    

A disadvantage of this bus topology is that it needs that cable is terminated in both ends of working terminators.

While the setup remains operational there need not be any open connections including the ends that attach to that computer.

If any computer is removed or if the terminators are loosened or missing when the cable would stay open and data would bounce back.

That bounce is known as signal reflection and if this happens to data flow would be interrupted.

Mesh topology


Now in a mesh topology, each computer on the network is connected to every other computer on the network.

Having so many connections that handle failure very well in this illustration there are 4 computers with 3 connections on any computer which makes a total of 12 connections for this network.

The benefit of a mesh topology is that it creates some high redundancy levels. Because of one or more connection fail the computers would still be able to communicate with each other.

Because of this amount of cabling and network cards that have to be used mesh topologies can be expensive then they are rarely used on local area networks or LANs.

They are mainly used at wide area networks like the internet. This internet is a good example of a mesh topology. Because is the internet is made up of numerous routers all over the world that are connected to route data to their intended destination. 

Then even if a few routers work down the data will get rerouted using a different path to ultimately reach their destination. So the internet is very redundant because it s using mesh topology. 

Infrastructure topology


The topology uses any combination of wired and wireless devices. That is very similar to a star topology wherever you have wired devices such as those computers here physically connected to a switch.

Also, have one wireless access point that’s also connected by a cable to the same switch. The wireless access point is here so that wireless devices such as laptops, tablets, phones, etc can connect wirelessly to the network.

So the wireless access point acts as a bridge between the wireless network and the wired network. Now some infrastructure topology is not limited to a single wireless access point.

You can own multiple wireless access points if you want it just depends on the needs of each network.

Ad hoc topology


Ad hoc is a very simple wireless topology it’s simple because it doesn’t rely on any infrastructure, such as cables, routers, servers, or wireless access points. All the devices into an ad hoc network wirelessly connect to other devices in any simple peer-to-peer network.

They directly connect without using a centralized device, such as a WI-FI router or access point. And because they directly access each other without a server or router in between, each device is responsible for its security and permissions.

Ad hoc is useful for setting up a quick wireless network on the fly, where devices can share data without the need for an existing wireless network.

Wireless mesh topology


Wireless mess topology is similar to wired mesh topology, where devices are interconnected with each other but with the exception that they are wirelessly interconnected.

So for example let’s say you wanted to deploy multiple wireless access points throughout a building so that wireless devices that are in different areas can access the internet.

So normally you have a modem that brings on the internet to the building and then you would have a switch that’s connected to the modem. And then you would connect any wireless access point with a cable to the switch.

So by doing it this way requires extra cabling and it would also require extra time running the cables through the building. So this is more expensive and more time-consuming.

Now a wireless mesh topology would be similar to this setup but without the need for these extra cables.

In a wireless mesh, each wireless access point with talk to other wireless access points to create a seamless internet connection for wireless devices to connect to so the laptop over there wanted to access the internet it would connect to.

That nearest wireless access point and then this access point will relay the connection on the next access point and then the next one and eventually find its way back to the modem. 

Then no matter which access point that you’re connected to you will have internet access because all the access points are in continuous communication with each other and the modem.

And even if one or more access points were to fail it wouldn’t matter because some other access points will reroute the data.

Such a wireless mesh topology is very redundant… because this internet connection is spread out over many wireless access points.

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