Network Topologies

Computers can be connected together in many ways. The layout/topology of the network will influence how reliable the network is and how easy it is to use. There are two types of topologies:Wired and Wireless. The main physical wired topologies are: Star, Ring, Bus and Mesh.

STAR TOPOLOGY

In a Star configured network, all devices are connected to a central device called a hub. Nodes communicate across the network by passing data through the hub.

Advantages:

  1. New stations can be added easily
  2. A single cable failure won’t bring down the network
  3. Relatively easy to troubleshoot

Disadvantages:

  1. Single point of failure – if hub goes down, the network goes down
  2. Total installation cost may be high due to the number of cables needed for each node

RING TOPOLOGY

All devices are connected to one another in the shape of a closed loop, so that each device is connected directly to two other devices, one on either side of it. When a computer sends data, the data travels to each computer on the ring until it reaches it destination.

Advantages:

  • Growth of ring has minimal effect on performance
  • Each node is able to filter and amplify the data before sending it to the next node.
  • Can cover a larger area than star.

Disadvantages:

  • A break in the cable will shut down the network
  • Most expensive topology
  • One computer failure affects others
  • Difficult to add or remove stations

BUS TOPOLOGY

Image courtesy of networkgue.blogspot.com

Devices are connected to a single central cable called the bus or backbone. Using the BUS and destination address, data is transmitted from source to destination along the backbone.

Advantages:
  1. – Inexpensive and easy to install
  2. – You can add and subtract devices without affecting the network
  3. – Failure of one device does not affect the network
  4. – Requires less cabling than star
Disadvantages:
  1. Network shuts down if there is a break in the cable
  2. Terminators are needed at both ends of the cable
  3. Difficult to troubleshoot

Devices are connected with many redundant interconnections between nodes.

Advantages:
  1. Failure of one node doesn’t affect the network
  2. Easy to expand
  3. More secure

Disadvantages:

  1. Very expensive due to the number of cable that would be required
  2. Difficult to implement
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