Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » P »

physical topology

The physical layout of devices on a network. Every LAN has a topology, or the way that the devices on a network are arranged and how they communicate with each other. The way that the workstations are connected to the network through the actual cables that transmit data -- the physical structure of the network -- is called the physical topology. The logical topology, in contrast, is the way that the signals act on the network media, or the way that the data passes through the network from one device to the next without regard to the physical interconnection of the devices.

A network's logical topology is not necessarily the same as its physical topology. For example, twisted pair Ethernet is a logical bus topology in a physical star topology layout. While IBM's Token Ringis a logical ring topology, it is physically set up in a star topology.

For network diagrams, see Network Topology Diagrams in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
11 Tips to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal

It's not just your lawnmower and household tools that your neighbor won't return. Our top picks include everything from updating device firmware... Read More »

Interesting Times: Transformation in the IT Channel

Business transformation will remain the buzzword of the moment as channel firms continue to assess the direction of their companies in the age of... Read More »

What is a Virtual Private network (VPN)?

Companies and organizations will use a VPN to communicate confidentially over a public network and to send voice, video or data. Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
29 Free Android Apps for Cash-Strapped Students

From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »

Network Fundamentals Study Guide

A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »

Computer Architecture Study Guide

This Webopedia  study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »