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Network Topology and its Classification - SmrityComputer

Basic Concept on Networking for the Beginners : Network Topology and its Classification

  • Update Time : Saturday, July 11, 2020
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network topology
Network Topology

Network topology refers to the arrangement and interconnection of devices, nodes, and links within a Computer Network. It forms the foundation upon which data is transmitted and shared between various components of a network. A network’s topology defines the physical and logical structure that determines how information flows and is accessed, ensuring efficient communication and optimal performance. From this article, you will acquire a good knowledge on various kinds of Network Topology. After that you can decide which topology will be suitable for your home or organization.

Networking System or Network Topology:

Topology is the geometric insertion for connecting different computers. That is to say, the connection of one computer with another computer in a computer network is called Topology. Topology is the exchange of information between many computers by connecting advanced devices or components to a central computer while maintaining an advanced Bandwidth (the rate of data transfer is called bandwidth) system. In brief, Network Topology is how the computers on a network are connected to each other when viewed from the top of a network.

Wires connect the computers to each other on the network. However, it is not the only task to connect the computers of the network with it. A logically well-regulated path is needed for data to flow smoothly through the cable. The design of a network to connect computers to a network and the plan of a logical path for data to pass through a connecting cable are collectively called network topology.

The following topologies are mostly used in the Computer Network:

a. Point-to-point (P2P) Network Topology:

The most simple network topology is point-to-point topology.  The network is made up of a direct connection between two computers in this process.

Advantages of using P2P Topology:

1. This is quicker and even more consistent than other connections since a direct connection is available there. 

2.   No network operating system is necessary for this.

3.   It doesn’t need a costly server, as each workstation has access to the files.

4.    No network technicians required because each user sets his/her permissions.

Disadvantages of using P2P Topology:

1.  The significant limitation is that it can be operated only in a limited area of shorter space where computers are located in a close distance.

2.  Files and folders can not be centrally backed up with this topology.

3. Apart from permissions, there is no security. Users don’t have to log into their workstations most of the time.

b. Star Network Topology:

All computers in the Star Topology network are connected to a central computer (junction). The computer that is used as the central computer (junction) is called the Hub. Each computer in the Star Network is directly connected via a Hub or Switch. Microcomputers communicate with each other through hubs and exchange data. If for some reason the central computer loses its efficiency, the entire network also loses its efficiency. Because there is no connection between computers and devices except the central computer.

Advantages of using Star Topology:

1. If one of the nodes (computers) in this topology is lost, the rest of the nodes in the network are not disrupted.

2. Different types of cables such as- twisted pair, co-axial and fiber optic cable can be used in this topology.

3. Any computer (node) can be added or removed from the star network without any interruption.

4. Centrally network maintenance or troubleshooting is easy.

5. The speed of data transmission is high.

Disadvantages of using Star Topology:

1. In this way, if the central computer is damaged, the entire network system becomes inoperable. Because the whole network is connected to each other through the hub or switch.

2. Star topology uses a large number of cables and central devices, so it is expensive.

3. The performance of the network depends on the efficiency of the central device.

c. Ring Network Topology:

All computers in a ring topology network are connected by cables in a way that creates a ring or loop. No starting or end border can be found in this topology. In a ring network, computers connect to each other in a circular way through nodes (the point at which the computer is connected is called a node).

Since the computers in the ring topology network are not directly connected to each other, no computer in the network can send signals directly to any other computer. The signal reaches the recipient computer only when it passes through the other computers between the transmitting computer and the receiving computer. In this case, every computer must be able to receive and transmit signals. Therefore, if a computer in the network loses the ability to transmit signals or becomes bad or disconnected, the whole network becomes useless. In this case, the bad computer has to be removed and the connection should be reconnected.

Advantages of using Ring Topology:

1. No server computer is required on the network. This means that it is a kind of distributed data processing system.

2. Although the number of computers in the network increases, its efficiency is not greatly affected.

3. No node in this network has to rely on a central computer for data exchange. If a computer is damaged, that computer can be removed from the ring.

4. Twisted pair cables used for this are cheap and easily available. Therefore, the network installation cost is very low.

5. This is reliable because the communication system does not rely on a single host computer.

6. The probability of collision in this topology is minimal.

Disadvantages of using Ring Topology:

1. If only one computer in the network is damaged, the whole network becomes inoperable.

2. In the case of ring topology, diagnosing a network issue is quite complex.

3. Adding or removing a computer to the network disrupts the entire network.

4. The time required for data transmission is directly proportional to the number of nodes. If the number of computers in this network increases, the time of data transmission also increases.

5. Complex control software is used for ring topology.

d. Bus Network Topology:

The topology in which all workstations or computers are connected to a core cable is called Bus Topology. The main cable in the Bus Topology is called Backbone. All nodes are connected to a connection line in a bus network organization. The connection line is usually called the Bus. A computer sends a signal through a connection line to another computer node. Other computers test that signal on their node and only the recipient node receives that signal.

Advantages of using Bus Topology:

1.  The main advantage of this topology is that the network is very simple and the number of physical lines is only one.

2. Co-axial or twisted pair cables are mainly used in bus-based networks that support up to 10 Mbps.

3. The backbone of the network can be easily expanded with the help of a repeater.

4. This topology is simple and easy to use on small-sized networks.

5. Even if one of the nodes of the bus topology is damaged, the other nodes are not affected.

6. Any computer can be easily connected to and disconnected from the network.

7. The bus topology requires fewer cables and no networking devices such as hubs or switches, resulting in lower costs.

Disadvantages of using Bus Topology:

1. When the main cable or backbone is damaged, the entire network system becomes inoperable.

2. There is no for data transmission in this topology. Data can be transmitted by any computer (node) at any time. If two nodes send a message at the same time, the signals of both nodes collide with each other.

3. If the traffic in the network increases then the data collision of the network   increases.

4. Data transmission is interrupted when the number of computers in the network is high.

5.   Diagnosing problems in bus topology is relatively complex.

6.  An error or break caused by a single bus paralyzes the entire network.

7.  The speed of data transmission is also low in this topology.

e. Tree Topology:

It is basically an extensive form of the Star Topology. In this topology, all the computers are connected to a special place using multiple hubs which is called Root. The topology in which computers are arranged with each other like branches of a tree is called tree topology. In this topology, one or more levels of computer are connected to the host computer. That is, first level computers host second level computers. Similarly, second level computers host third level computers.

Advantages of using Tree Topology:

1. Tree topology is primarily used to provide broadband transmission, meaning that signals can be transmitted over long distances.

2. It is easy to expand the network of tree topologies by creating branches.

3. Connecting or removing any new nodes does not interfere with the normal functioning of the network.

4. Error detection and error correction are very easy in a tree topology.

5. Error in one station does not affect the whole network.

6. There is point-to-point wiring for each segment.

7. This network topology is very useful for office management.

Disadvantages of using Tree Topology:

1. This topology is kind of a bit complicated.

2. If an error occurs on the root or server computer, the tree network becomes inoperable.

3. Tree topology largely depends on the original bus cable and the failure of the main bus cable damages the overall network.

f. Mesh Network Topology or Interconnected Network:

In a mess or interconnected network, the topology network has a separate link or bus with each workstation. So each workstation can exchange data directly with any workstation. In the case of mesh topology, every computer in the network is directly connected to each computer. If at any time one way of communication is lost, the alternative is another way of communication. The Internet is an example of mesh topology.

In a mesh topology, a host associates with one or more hosts. Each host in this topology can be point-to-point with all other hosts or only a few hosts in the network. In the mesh topology, hosts also act as relays to other hosts if there is no direct point-to-point link.

Types of Mesh Topology:

There are two types of mesh topology. These are-

i) Full Mesh Topology:

In a full mesh topology, each node is directly connected to all the other nodes in the network.

ii) Partial Mesh Topology:

In a partial mesh topology, each node is connected to specific nodes rather than all other nodes.

Features of Mesh Topology:

1. There are multiple paths from one computer to another.

2. It does not have a switch, hub, or any central computer that acts as a central point of communication.

3. The mesh topology is mainly used for WAN implementation.

4.  The mesh topology is primarily used for wireless networks.

5. You can form fake topologies using the formula:

     Number of wires = (n * (n-1)) / 2

Advantages of using Mesh Topology:

1. In Mesh Topology,Signals can be exchanged very fast between any two nodes.

2. There is no problem if any computer or connection line is damaged. This means that there is no major issues created for that.

3. Even if a connection line is lost, data can be exchanged using an alternative connection line.

4. It has a lot more certainty in data communication.

5. Network issues can be solved very easily in this topology.

6. This kind of network protects security and privacy.

Disadvantages of using Mesh Topology:

1. Network installation and configuration in this topology is quite complex.

2. Having to put additional links in the network increases the cost.

g. Hybrid Network Topology:

A Hybrid Network Topology consists of topologies of stars, rings, buses, etc. The Internet, for example, is one such topology. It is a hybrid network because it is a large-scale network with a mix of all types of topologies. The advantages and disadvantages of a hybrid network depend on the topologies used in that network.

Advantages of using Hybrid Topology:

1. In this topology, there is an opportunity to increase the network as required.

2. You can easily diagnose if there is a trouble.

3. If any one part of the network is lost, the whole network is not lost.

Disadvantages of using Hybrid Topology:

1. The major drawback of the hybrid topology is the design of the hybrid network. It is very difficult to design the architecture of a hybrid network.

2. Hubs used in hybrid topologies are very expensive. This is because these hubs are different from the usual hubs used in other topologies.

3. Hybrid networks require a lot of cabling, network devices, etc., so the cost of the structure is very high.

How to Choose a Topology for a Network?

Here are some important aspects to choose the best topology for building a network in your company:

1.   The bus topology is definitely cheaper to create a network.

2. If you are interested in using a shorter cable or you plan to expand your network in future, the star topology is the best choice for you.

3.  You should create star topologies if you want to to use twisted networking pair cables.

4. Hypothetically, absolute mesh topology is a perfect selection because every device is linked to each other here.

Conclusion

Understanding network topology is essential for network administrators and engineers as it directly impacts network performance, scalability, and reliability. By selecting an appropriate topology for a given network, professionals can optimize data transmission, minimize downtime, and enhance overall network efficiency. Moreover, advancements in technology and the increasing complexity of modern networks continue to drive the evolution and exploration of innovative network topologies.

If you have any more queries on network topology, feel free to ask us in the comment box. You can also connect us through Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. Stay with Smrity Computer for more updates on networking. Contact us for more information.

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