Network Topologies

Designing a network requires a layout for the physical network and the logical connectivity. This layout is called network topology. Physical topology and logical topology are both needed to understand how a network operates. There are different types of topologies but is basically classified into two: point-to-point and multipoint. With a point-to-point, data is usually transferred at high rate. It involves the connection between two entities, for example between two mainframe computers. Multipoint, on the other hand, connects three or more stations. The following are examples of multipoint topologies and their descriptions.

Star topology is a multipoint topology wherein many stations are connected to a center station called a hub. The hub acts as the single connection between the other networks. This is usually common with cellular base stations asince their cellular services and connection protocols must be routed to the central office. Internet connection in an office with one router is also an example of star. Its main disadvantage is a slight latency and dependence on the hub.

Bus is a multipoint topology wherein instead of a central station, stations are connected by an information highway. This is usually common with internet cafes with Ethernet cables directly connected between stations. It has the advantage of having one or more less station to be maintained but the downside of greater chance of collision and invalidation.

Ring is a multipoint topology which connects station in a loop. It usually involves token-passing when transmitting data wherein the right to transmit goes to one station at a time and the others, will lie in wait as receivers for the time being. Obviously, latency is its main problem but is more robust than bus or star since connection is two-fold, that is two directions and thus one disconnection is still manageable and no shutdown will occur.

Posted 2010-12-14 and updated on Dec 14, 2010 6:15am by crisd

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