Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » Quick Reference »

What Are Network Topologies?

Network Topology refers to layout of a network. How different nodes in a network are connected to each other and how they communicate is determined by the network's topology.

Webopedia Study GuideNetwork Topology refers to layout of a network and how different nodes in a network are connected to each other and how they communicate. Topologies are either physical (the physical layout of devices on a network) or logical (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). This Webopedia Study Guide describes five of the most common network topologies. 


Network Topology Checklist

Webopedia Study Guide Section Getting Started: Key Terms to Know

Webopedia Study Guide Section Mesh Topology

Webopedia Study Guide Section Star Topology

Webopedia Study Guide Section Bus Topology

Webopedia Study Guide Section Ring Topology

Webopedia Study Guide Section Tree Topology


Getting Started: Key Terms to Know

The following definitions will help you to better understand network topology:

1. Mesh Topology

Mesh Topology: In a mesh network, devices are connected with many redundant interconnections between network nodes. In a true mesh topology every node has a connection to every other node in the network. There are two types of mesh topologies:

Star Topology: In a star network devices are connected to a central computer, called a hub. Nodes communicate across the network by passing data through the hub.

Star Network

 

3. Bus Topology

4. Ring Topology

Ring Topology



Ring Topology
:
A local-area network (LAN) whose topology is a ring. That is, all of the nodes are connected in a closed loop. Messages travel around the ring, with each node reading those messages addressed to it.
Main Advantage: One main advantage to a ring network is that it can span larger distances than other types of networks, such as bus networks, because each node regenerates messages as they pass through it.

 

5. Tree Topology

Tree Topology: This is a "hybrid" topology that combines characteristics of linear bus and star topologies. In a tree network, groups of star-configured networks are connected to a linear bus backbone cable.

Tree Topology

Main Advantage: A Tree topology is a good choice for large computer networks as the tree topology "divides" the whole network into parts that are more easily manageable.
Main Disadvantage: The entire network depends on a central hub and a failure of the central hub can cripple the whole network.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
LATEST ARTICLES
Slideshow: 5 Hot Holiday Gifts for Tech Enthusiasts

From cute electronic toys to VR gaming, here are 5 hot gifts to give to your special tech enthusiast this holiday season. Read More »

What's Hot in Tech: AI Tops the List

Like everything in technology, AI touches on so many other trends, like self-driving cars and automation, and Big Data and the Internet of Things... Read More »

DevOp's Role in Application Security

As organizations rush to release new applications, security appears to be getting short shrift. DevSecOps is a new approach that holds promise. Read More »

STUDY GUIDES
Java Basics, Part 1

Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »

Java Basics, Part 2

This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »

The 7 Layers of the OSI Model

The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »