A network is a collection of different computer systems linked through a medium, and a topology describes how the systems across the network will be mapped. In other words, a network topology is the representation of how different computers are connected in a network, so that data present in one computer could be sent or received by any other computer connected to that network. In this article, we will discuss the various types of network topology.
Types of Network Topology
There are six main types of network topology that we use while setting a network, whether it’s a LAN, MAN, or WAN.
- Bus Topology
- Star Topology
- Ring Topology
- Mesh Topology
- Tree Topology
- Hybrid Topology
1. Bus Topology
In a bus topology, all the computers present on the network connect through a single main cable, and if a user wants to transmit data from one system to another, then the data have to transmit through that main cable. In this topology, if the single main cable has two endpoints, then it would be considered as a linear bus topology.
Advantages of the Bus Topology
- It is the cheapest topology we use for network mapping.
- Bus topology is mainly used by the LAN networks because of its cheap implementation.
- It has a simple implementation.
- Adding a new system using this topology is also easy. Just add one more system to the main cable.
- It is primarily used for small networks.
Disadvantages of the Bus Topology
- If a fault arises in the main cable then the whole network will collapse.
- The performance of the network will reduce if more nodes or systems are connected to the main cable.
- The length of the main cable is usually limited.
- It is difficult to find a defective node in the network.
- Compared to other network topologies, the bus topology is slower and inefficient.
2. Star Topology
In star topology, we have a main computer or system that connects all the other systems to itself and forms a network. The main system of the star topology is the hub, and it is responsible for the transmission of data from one system to another. In this type of network topology, all the systems directly connect to the hub. So, if system A wants to send data to system B, first the data would be collected by the hub from system A and then it transmits that data to system B.
Advantages of the Star Topology
- It is easy to set up and modify a star topology.
- The detection of a fault in the system is also easy.
- Even if a system in the network collapses, it will not affect the complete network.
- It can manage the network traffic.
- We can easily remove an old node or insert a new node between the network.
- Star topology is more efficient than bus topology.
Disadvantages of the Star Topology
- Hub is the mainframe of the star topology, so if it collapses, the complete network will collapse too.
- All the system depends upon the hub for communication.
- Setting up the star topology is expensive.
- The performance of the hub reduces with an increase in the number of nodes.
- As the hub performs most of the operation, so it requires maintenance and regular updates.
3. Ring Topology
The concept of ring topology is similar to the bus topology, but here, in the ring topology, each system connects to exactly two neighbor systems. Thus, it is called ring topology because it forms a closed-loop structure and the last system connected to the first system of the network. The Ring topology has two types Unidirectional and Bidirectional.
In Unidirectional Ring topology the data is transmitted in one direction, for example, if A if the first system and Z is the last system in the network, the data from A to Z need to be transmitted from all the nodes that come between A and Z.
In a Bi-directional ring topology, the Data can transmit in two directions clockwise and anti-clockwise. In this ring topology if A is the first and Z is the last node, then the data from A to Z can be transmitted directly.
Advantages of the Ring topology
- The installation of the Ring topology is easy.
- The increasing number of nodes or systems does not affect the performance of the network.
Disadvantages of the Ring Topology
- If a system fails, it can collapse the complete network.
- Data transmission is unidirectional.
- It’s dated. Even LANs do not use this type of topology these days.
- Security issues could arise between the system.
- The detection of a fault system is difficult.
- Modifying the complete network is complex.
- Adding or removing a system could affect the complete network.
4. Mesh Topology
In the mesh topology, each system of the network is connected directly to every other system present in the network. The mesh topology uses the Point to Point system in which each system is connected to every other system. The connection of one system to every other system increases the redundancy of the network channels.
For example, if a network has n number of systems, then according to the mesh topology, that network would have:
network channels = n(n-1)/2
Advantages of the Mesh Topology
- No traffic issues.
- Data transmission happens at a very high speed.
- Even if one of the network channels fails, the data can still be transmitted from one system to another indirectly.
- A system fault can be easily detected.
- Provides the highest security because of the point-to-point connection.
Disadvantages of the Mesh topology
- Installing a new system to the network can be hectic and complex.
- With the increase in systems, the network channel would increase exponentially.
- Redundant channels.
- Heavy network system.
- Very expensive installation.
- Requires a large space.
5. Tree Topology
In tree topology, we have the main node, which is also known as the root node that lies at the top of the tree, and all the systems of the network form a hierarchical structure to that root system. We can call a tree topology a hierarchical topology for this very reason. Wide area networks often use tree topology, and a tree topology could also be seen as the extension of the bus and star network topologies.
Advantages of the Tree topology
- It is easy to add a new system to the tree topology.
- Easy to maintain.
- Error detection is also easy.
Disadvantages of the Tree Topology
- Its implementation is expensive.
- If the root node fails, the complete network will get disturbed and will eventually collapse.
6. Hybrid Topology
A hybrid topology is a network topology that inherits the properties of two or more topologies. For example, if a network follows the bus topology and ring topology at the same time, then it is a hybrid network topology. Hybrid topology is very useful when we require a network that can overcome the drawback of one another topology.
Advantages of the Hybrid Topology
- Very effective and flexible.
- To overcome the drawback of one topology, we can introduce a new one on the same network.
- Easy to detect the fault systems present in the network.
Disadvantages of the Hybrid Topology
- It is very complicated to implement a hybrid topology.
- It increases the cost of implementation.
Each network topology has its advantages and disadvantages, and according to the requirement and resources, network admins use one of these network topologies to map the system in the network. Different types of network topology helps to meet different needs. So, you can also choose one accordingly. If you want to mix things up, you can go for hybrid technologies.
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