LAN Topologies


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LAN Topologies

There are different types of network topologies that are used in a network. The network topologies in the structure or the layout of the different devices and computers connected to the network. The topologies commonly used in LAN areā€”Bus topology, Star topology, and Ring topology.

Bus Topology

Bus Topology Bus networks (not to be confused with the system bus of a computer) use a common backbone to connect all devices. A single cable, the backbone functions as a shared communication medium that devices attach or tap into with an interface connector. A device wanting to communicate with another device on the network sends a broadcast message onto the wire that all other devices see, but only the intended recipient actually accepts and processes the message.
Ethernet bus topologies are relatively easy to install and don't require much cabling compared to the alternatives. 10Base-2 ("ThinNet") and 10Base-5 ("ThickNet") both were popular Ethernet cabling options many years ago for bus topologies. However, bus networks work best with a limited number of devices. If more than a few dozen computers are added to a network bus, performance problems will likely result. In addition, if the backbone cable fails, the entire network effectively becomes unusable.

Ring Topology

Ring Topology In a ring network, every device has exactly two neighbors for communication purposes. All messages travel through a ring in the same direction (either "clockwise" or "counterclockwise"). A failure in any cable or device breaks the loop and can take down the entire network.
To implement a ring network, one typically uses FDDI, SONET, or Token Ring technology. Ring topologies are found in some office buildings or school campuses.

Star Topology

Star Topology Many home networks use the star topology. A star network features a central connection point called a "hub" that may be a hub, switch or router. Devices typically connect to the hub with Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Ethernet.
Compared to the bus topology, a star network generally requires more cable, but a failure in any star network cable will only take down one computer's network access and not the entire LAN. (If the hub fails, however, the entire network also fails.)



Tree Topology

Tree Topology Tree topologies integrate multiple star topologies together onto a bus. In its simplest form, only hub devices connect directly to the tree bus, and each hub functions as the "root" of a tree of devices. This bus/star hybrid approach supports future expandability of the network much better than a bus (limited in the number of devices due to the broadcast traffic it generates) or a star (limited by the number of hub connection points) alone.

Mesh Topology

Mesh Topology Mesh topologies involve the concept of routes. Unlike each of the previous topologies, messages sent on a mesh network can take any of several possible paths from source to destination. (Recall that even in a ring, although two cable paths exist, messages can only travel in one direction.) Some WANs, most notably the Internet, employ mesh routing.
A mesh network in which every device connects to every other is called a full mesh. As shown in the illustration below, partial mesh networks also exist in which some devices connect only indirectly to others.

Hybrid Topology

A combination of any two or more network topologies. Note 1: Instances can occur where two basic network topologies, when connected together, can still retain the basic network character, and therefore not be a hybrid network. For example, a tree network connected to a tree network is still a tree network. Therefore, a hybrid network accrues only when two basic networks are connected and the resulting network topology fails to meet one of the basic topology definitions. For example, two star networks connected together exhibit hybrid network topologies. Note 2: A hybrid topology always accrues when two different basic network topologies are connected.





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