6 Types of Network Topology, Advantages and Disadvantages

3 min readFeb 7, 2021

Network Topology

The configuration, or topology, of a network is key to determining its performance. Network topology is the way a network is arranged, including the physical or logical description of how links and nodes are set up to relate to each other.

There are numerous ways a network can be arranged, all with different pros and cons, and some are more useful in certain circumstances than others. Admins have a range of options when it comes to choosing a network topology, and this decision must account for the size and scale of their business, its goals, and budget.

Several tasks go into effective network topology management, including configuration management, visual mapping, and general performance monitoring. The key is to understand your objectives and requirements to create and manage the network topology in the right way for your business

Types of Network Topology

1. Bus Topology:

In case of Bus topology, all devices share single communication line or cable.Bus topology may have problem while multiple hosts sending data at the same time. Therefore, Bus topology either uses CSMA/CD technology or recognizes one host as Bus Master to solve the issue.

It is one of the simple forms of networking where a failure of a device does not affect the other devices. But failure of the shared communication line can make all other devices stop functioning.

2. Ring topology:

In ring topology, each host machine connects to exactly two other machines, creating a circular network structure. When one host tries to communicate or send message to a host which is not adjacent to it, the data travels through all intermediate hosts. To connect one more host in the existing structure, the administrator may need only one more extra cable.

3. Star topology:

In star topology each device in the network is connected to a central device called hub. Unlike Mesh topology, star topology doesn’t allow direct communication between devices, a device must have to communicate through hub. If one device wants to send data to other device, it has to first send the data to hub and then the hub transmit that data to the designated device.

4. Mesh topology:

In mesh topology 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. Lets say we have n devices in the network then each device must be connected with (n-1) devices of the network. Number of links in a mesh topology of n devices would be n(n-1)/2.

5. Tree topology:

Also known as Hierarchical Topology, this is the most common form of network topology in use presently.This topology imitates as extended Star topology and inherits properties of bus topology.

This topology divides the network in to multiple levels/layers of network. Mainly in LANs, a network is bifurcated into three types of network devices. The lowermost is access-layer where computers are attached. The middle layer is known as distribution layer, which works as mediator between upper layer and lower layer. The highest layer is known as core layer, and is central point of the network, i.e. root of the tree from which all nodes fork.

6. Hybrid topology:

A combination of two or more topology is known as hybrid topology. For example a combination of star and mesh topology is known as hybrid topology.

Internet is the best example of the largest Hybrid topology

If there is a bus topology in the IT department while ring topology in the HR department then connecting these two will result in the hybrid topology.

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