What is a Network topology?
A network topology is the geometric arrangement of nodes and cable links in a LAN,
There are two types of topology: physical and logical. The physical topology of a network refers to the configuration of cables, computers, and other peripherals. Logical topology is the method used to pass the information between workstations. Issues involving logical topologies are discussed in the section on
The following section discuss the physical topologies used in networks
Main Types of Physical Topologies
LINEAR BUS TOPOLOGY
A linear bus topology consists of a main run of cable with a terminator at each end. All nodes (file server, workstations, and peripherals) are connected to the linear cable. Ethernet and LocalTalk networks use a linear bus topology.
Advantages of a Linear Bus Topology
- Easy to connect a computer or peripheral to a linear bus.
- Requires less cable length than a star topology.
Disadvantages of a Linear Bus Topology
- Entire network shuts down if there is a break in the main cable.
- Terminators are required at both ends of the backbone cable.
- Difficult to identify the problem if the entire network shuts down.
- Not meant to be used as a stand-alone solution in a large building.
A star topology is designed with each node (file server, workstations, and peripherals) connected directly to a central network hub or concentrator.
Data on a star network passes through the hub or concentrator before continuing to its destination. The hub or concentrator manages and controls all functions of the network. It also acts as a repeater for the data flow. This configuration is common with twisted pair cable; however, it can also be used with coaxial cable or fiber optic cable.
The protocols used with star configurations are usually Ethernet or LocalTalk. Token Ring uses a similar topology, called the star-wired ring.
Advantages of a Star Topology
- Easy to install and wire.
- No disruptions to the network when connecting or removing devices.
- Easy to detect faults and to remove parts.
Disadvantages of a Star Topology
- Requires more cable length than a linear topology.
- If the hub or concentrator fails, nodes attached are disabled.
- More expensive than linear bus topologies because of the cost of the concentrators.
A star-wired ring topology may appear (externally) to be the same as a star topology. Internally, the MAU (multistation access unit) of a star-wired ring contains wiring that allows information to pass from one device to another in a circle or ring . The Token Ring protocol uses a star-wired ring topology.
A tree topology combines characteristics of linear bus and star topologies. It consists of groups of star-configured workstations connected to a linear bus backbone cable. Tree topologies allow for the expansion of an existing network, and enable schools to configure a network to meet their needs.
Advantages of a Tree Topology
- Point-to-point wiring for individual segments.
- Supported by several hardware and software venders.
Disadvantages of a Tree Topology
- Overall length of each segment is limited by the type of cabling used.
- If the backbone line breaks, the entire segment goes down.
- More difficult to configure and wire than other topologies.