Network Topology: The Differences in the Types

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When computers are in a network, their connections have to be logical. A network topology is the layout pattern of these interconnections. In this virtual structure, you are likely to hear of terms like nodes, which refer to the devices in the network.

Many people in Ohio looking for IT consulting services from companies like Virtual DataWorks are already familiar with the point-to-point topology. It is the simplest, consisting of directly linked computers. The only limitation is that it can only serve small areas. Therefore, in your office, you are likely to have either of the following network topology types:

Bus topology

In this network type, the devices have one cable. The bus topology transmits only in one direction. It is cost effective and requires the smallest cable size of all network topologies. It is easy to understand and serves small networks very well. What is more, you can expand the connection by joining two cables. The only downside to this network is that the performance of the system will decrease as the network traffic or the nodes increase.

Ring topology

In this type of network, every computer connects to another, and the last one is connected to the first. Ring topology transmits data in a unidirectional manner even though it can be made to be bidirectional. The data transfer is sequential, and it has to pass through each node before it reaches its destination. Fortunately, this network can handle high traffic, but it presents a difficulty when troubleshooting since one node failure disrupts the whole system.

Star topology

Here, all computers connect with a single hub. The hub works as a central node and as a repeater for data flow. The star network is fast performing and easy to upgrade. It is also easy to troubleshoot since every computer has a dedicated connection to the hub. However, the performance of the network will depend on the capacity of the central node.

As a manager, knowing your network topology will help you understand performance. It will also inform how much you will be willing to spend. For example, the star topology costs more to install than the bus topology.