December 2, 2022

Explanation of types of topology in computer networks


If you want to understand the types of topology in a computer network, then read this message. A topology defines how the different components (computers and network devices such as routers, cables and switches) connect and communicate within a network. It is important for an organization to choose the right topology as it plays an important role in increasing the performance of its communication network. A well-planned topology can reduce operating costs and improve data transfer efficiency and resource allocation. It can also help network administrators identify faults and diagnose network-related problems.

Types of topology in the computer network

A network topology can basically be classified as a physical or logical topology. Physical topology defines how the the network is structuredwhile logical topology conceptualize how data flow within the network. These are further classified as Bus, ring, star, mesh, tree, and Hybrid topologies. Let’s see in detail the different types of topologies in a computer network.

1]Physical topologies

A]Bus topology

Illustrated bus topology

  • In this layout, all devices are connected with a single cable which transmits data from one end to the other in one direction.
  • The bus topology has 2 endpoints, each connected to a special device called ‘terminator‘.
  • It has a simple layout that is easy to install, maintain and expand.
  • The entire network is based on a single cable. If the cable fails, the whole network fails. Resuming network service in such a case could cost the organization a lot of time.
  • Since data travels in only one direction, a high volume of traffic can reduce network performance.
  • This is an old concept that is no longer used for office networks.

B]Ring topology

Ring topology shown

  • In this arrangement, the devices are connected in a closed loop configurationwhere the last device connects to the first device.
  • The ring topology has no end.
  • Each device in this network can have exactly 2 (no less no more) neighbors.
  • It has a main device which is responsible for performing all the operations. This device is known as ‘surveillance post‘.
  • A ring transmits information in one direction (clockwise) but can be configured to transmit information in both directions. This configuration is known as dual ring topology.
  • Ring networks are faster than bus networks, but are difficult to troubleshoot.
  • Could increase the chances of unwanted power consumption as data is flowing all the time.

C]Star topology

Star Topology Shown

  • In this layout, all devices are connected to a central device, called center.
  • Each device in this topology is directly connected to the hub and indirectly connected to other devices.
  • If one device fails, it can easily be replaced without affecting other devices. If the hub fails, the entire network is down.
  • The limited availability of I/O ports in the central hub limits the size of the network.
  • Installation and maintenance cost is high compared to bus or ring topology.
  • Easy to configure and troubleshoot.
  • This is the most popular topology for LAN networks.

Read also : What are NTP and SNMP network protocols.

D]Mesh topology

Mesh topology (full) shown

  • This arrangement forms a network channel in which all devices are connected via dedicated point-to-point links.
  • Classify more as Partial mesh and full mesh topology. The full mesh has all the devices interconnected, while the partial mesh has a few exceptional devices, which are connected to the other 2 or 3 devices only.
  • Does not rely on any central point for data communication.
  • If one cable fails, the data still has another way to go.
  • Point-to-point links help reduce network traffic.
  • The private and secure connection eliminates the possibility of unauthorized access.
  • Expensive to implement.

E]Tree topology

Illustrated tree topology

  • In this arrangement, the devices are hierarchically connected to each other, forming a parent-child relationship.
  • Also known as Star bus topology because it combines several star topologies into a single bus topology (devices are directly or indirectly connected to the main bus cable).
  • Also called hierarchical topology.
  • The integration is focused on extending network scalability.
  • At least 3 levels of hierarchy are needed to form the network.
  • Data flows from the primary hub to the secondary hubs to the rest of the devices or in the opposite direction (bottom to top).
  • Common in WAN configurations.
  • A failure of the main bus cable can have an impact on the entire network.
  • Easy to maintain and troubleshoot.

F]Hybrid topology

Hybrid Topology Shown

  • Is the combination of two or more different types of topologies that we have seen above.
  • Common in large organizations where individual departments have their network topologies and the combination of these topologies results in a single hybrid topology.
  • A highly flexible and scalable network topology.
  • Complex architecture (depends on topologies involved)
  • Expensive to implement and maintain.
  • Difficult troubleshooting.

2]Logical topologies

A]Logical bus topology

  • Data travels in one direction only, also known as half-duplex mode.
  • Data is either sent or received at a time.
  • Multiple devices can disseminate data at a time.
  • Other devices receive the data and check if it is indented for them.
  • All devices have the same level of authority to transfer data.
  • The network is controlled by a ‘bus master’.
  • Data loss issues can occur due to packet collision (a data packet refers to a unit of data that travels along a given network).

B]Logical ring topology

  • Allows a single device to transfer data at one point.
  • When data is transmitted, it travels through every device on the network until the destination is reached.
  • Data transfer can be unidirectional or bidirectional.
  • Has a token-based system to transmit data. A device that has the token sends the data.
  • No central device to control the network.
  • Using tokens avoids data collisions.

This summarizes different types of topologies in a computer network. If you like this article, share your thoughts in the comments section below.

What are the 3 main topologies?

The 3 main topologies of a computer network are bus, ring and star topologies. In a bus topology, all devices are connected to the main cable. In star topology, devices are connected to each other, forming a circular loop. In the star topology, the devices are connected to the main hub via their cables. These 3 topologies form the basis for setting up a LAN.

What are the two types of topology?

Network topologies are generally categorized into 2 different types: physical topology and logical topology. Physical topology defines how devices in a computer network are connected while logical topology defines how data flows between the network. In other words, physical topology describes the structure of a network while logical topology conceptualizes the data transfer protocol between various devices on the network.

Read more : Enable or disable network discovery or sharing in Windows 11/10.

Types of topology in the computer network

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