Geometric representation of how the computers are connected is known as topology. There are six types of topology – Mesh, Star, Bus, Ring, Hybrid and Tree.
Types of Topology
There are six types of topology in computer networks:
- Mesh Topology
- Star Topology
- Bus Topology
- Ring Topology
- Hybrid Topology
- Tree Topology
What is Mesh Topology?
Mesh topology is one of the types of topology in which each device is connected to every other device on the network through a dedicated point-to-point link.
When we say dedicated it means that the link only carries data for the two connected devices only.
Let’s say we have n devices in the network then each device must be connected with (n-1) devices of the network.
The number of links in a mesh topology of n devices would be n (n-1)/2. It is one of the best among types of topology.
Advantages of Mesh topology
- There are no data traffic issues as there is a dedicated link between two devices, which means the link is only available for those two devices.
- Mesh topology is reliable and robust as the failure of one link doesn’t affect other links and the communication between other devices on the network.
- Mesh topology is secure because there is a point to point link thus unauthorized access is not possible.
Fault detection is easy.
Disadvantages of Mesh topology
- Amount of wires required to connected each system is tedious and a headache.
Since each device needs to be connected with other devices, the number of I/O ports required must be huge.
- Scalability issues because a device cannot be connected with a large number of devices with a dedicated point to point link.
Star topology is one of the important topologies among types of topology in which each device in the network is connected to a central device called the hub.
Unlike Mesh topology, star topology doesn’t allow direct communication between devices; a device must have to communicate through the hub.
In these types of topology, if one device wants to send data to another device, it has to first send the data to the hub and then the hub transmits that data to the designated device.
Advantages of Star topology
These types of topology are less expensive because each device only needs one I/O port and needs to be connected with a hub with one link.
- Easier to install.
- Fewer amounts of cables required because each device needs to be connected with the hub only.
- Robust, if one link fails, other links will work just fine.
- Easy fault detection because the link can be easily identified.
Disadvantages of Star topology
- In these types of technology if the hub goes down everything goes down, none of the devices can work without a hub.
- Hub requires more resources and regular maintenance because it is the central system of star topology.
What is Bus Topology?
Bus topology is one of the different types of topology in which there is the main cable and all the devices are connected to this main cable through drop lines.
There is a device called a tap that connects the drop line to the main cable. Since all the data is transmitted over the main cable, there is a limit of drop lines and the main cable’s distance.
Advantages of bus topology
- For easy installation, each cable needs to be connected with a backbone cable.
- Fewer cables required than Mesh and star topology.
Disadvantages of bus topology
- In such topology, there is difficultly in fault detection.
- It is also not scalable as there is a limit of how many nodes you can connect with the backbone cable.
What is Ring Topology?
Ring topology is one of the types of topology in which each device is connected with the two devices on either side of it.
There is two dedicated point to point links a device has with the devices on either side of it.
This structure forms a ring thus it is known as a ring topology. If a device wants to send data to another device then it sends the data in one direction, each device in ring topology has a repeater, if the received data is intended for other devices then the repeater forwards this data until the intended device receives it.
Advantages of Ring Topology
- It is easy to install.
- Managing is easier as to add or remove a device from the topology only two links are required to be changed.
Disadvantages of Ring Topology
- A link failure can fail the entire network as the signal will not travel forward due to failure.
- Data traffic issues, since all the data is circulating in a ring.
A combination of two or more topologies is known as hybrid topology.
For example, a combination of star and mesh topology is known as hybrid topology.
Advantages of Hybrid topology
We can choose the topology based on the requirement, for example, scalability is our concern then we can use star topology instead of bus technology.
Scalable as we can further connect other computer networks with the existing networks with different topologies.
Disadvantages of Hybrid topology
- Fault detection is difficult.
- Installation is difficult.
- Design is complex so maintenance is high thus expensive.
Tree topology is a combination of bus topology and star topology.
Different nodes are connected to a single cable in a bus topology while in a star topology; all nodes are connected to a central hub.
Tree topology is made by connecting various star topologies via central bus backbone cable. It is used for the expansion of the network.
Advantages of Tree topology
- It allows more devices to be attached to a single central hub thus, it increases the distance that is travel by the signal to come to the devices.
- It allows the network to get isolate and also prioritize from different computers.
Disadvantages of Tree topology
- If the central hub gets fails the entire system fails.
- The cost is high because of cabling.
Overall this is an important description of types of topology. In this whole article, we observed that every time technology is being updated with the enhancement of their feature. Of course, it is becoming more and more complex with the time but providing us reliable service and better security.
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