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What are the Network Topology Types
A topology refers to the physical layout of a network. It describes how networking devices such as servers, desktops, printers, and network devices are connected together.
There are five primary topologies (bus, mesh, ring, star, and wireless) that are installed in various networks.
In a star topology, computers (or nodes) connect to each other through a central device, called a hub or a switch. Since each device is connected independently to the central device using a separate cable, the star network can be expanded at any time without affecting the operation of the network. Failure of one or more nodes also does not affect the network operation. The central device becomes the single point of failure because all nodes are connected to it.
In a bus topology, all computers are connected to a single cable called a backbone using T-connectors. Both ends of the backbone use terminators in order to prevent reflection of signals. If the terminator is missing or is deliberately removed, the data transmissions are disrupted.
In a mesh topology, each computer makes a point-to-point connection to every other computer. This makes the network highly fault-tolerant and reliable because a break in the cable or a faulty computer does not effect network operation. Data can travel from one computer to another using a number of paths.
In a ring topology, each computer is connected to its neighboring computer to form a logical ring. If one of the computers in the ring fails or if the cable is broken, the entire network becomes inaccessible. Addition or removal of computers also disrupts network transmissions. A Multi-Station Access Unit (MSAU) or Media Access Unit (MAU) acts as the central device.
In a wireless topology, computers connect to each other using radio frequencies. Wireless networks can be either Ad-hoc or Infrastructure topology- based. In an ad-hoc wireless network, two or more computers directly communicate to each other without using a central device. There is no central device (hub), and these networks can be created anywhere almost spontaneously. In an Infrastructure network, a central wireless device known as the Access Point (AP) is used to authenticate and configure wireless clients that fall within its range. A special identifier known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID) must be configured on the AP and each wireless client. The AP can further be connected to the wired LAN so that wireless clients can access the wired LAN also.
Another topology type would be a logical topology, which defines the way data is passed from endpoint to endpoint throughout the network. The logical topology does not give any regard to the way the nodes are physically laid out. Its concern is to get the data where it is supposed to go.
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