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Network Toplogies of Computer Network.

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A Network Topology is the way computer systems or network equipment connected to each other.Topologies may define both physical and logical aspect of the network. Both logical and physical topologies could be same or different in a same network.

Bus Topology

In contrast to point-to-point, in bus topology all device share single communication line or cable. All devices are connected to this shared line. Bus topology may have problem while more than one hosts sending data at the same time. Therefore, the bus topology either uses CSMA/CD technology or recognizes one host has Bus Master to solve the issue. It is one of the simple forms of networking where a failure of a device does not affect the others. But failure of the shared communication line make all other devices fail.Both ends of the shared channel have line terminator. The data is sent in only one direction and as soon as it reaches the extreme end, the terminator removes the data from the line.
Image of Bus Topology

Star Topology

All hosts in star topology are connected to a central device, known as Hub device, using a point-to-point connection. That is, there exists a point to point connection between hosts and Hub. The hub device can be Layer-1 device (Hub / repeater) or Layer-2 device (Switch / Bridge) or Layer-3 device (Router / Gateway).As in bus topology, hub acts as single point of failure. If hub fails, connectivity of all hosts to all other hosts fails. Every communication happens between hosts, goes through Hub only. Star topology is not expensive as to connect one more host, only one cable is required and configuration is simple.
Image of Star Topology


Point-to-point networks contains exactly two hosts (computer or switches or routers or servers) connected back to back using a single piece of cable. Often, the receiving end of one host is connected to sending end of the other end and vice-versa.If the hosts are connected point-to-point logically, then may have multiple intermediate devices. But the end hosts are unaware of underlying network and see each other as if they are connected directly.
Image of Point-to-point

Ring Topology

In ring topology, each host machine connects to exactly two other machines, creating a circular network structure. When one host tries to communicate or send message to a host which is not adjacent to it, the data travels through all intermediate hosts. To connect one more host in the existing structure administrator may need only one more extra cable.Failure of any host results in failure of the whole ring. Thus every connection in the ring is point of failure. There exists methods which employs one more backup ring.
Image of Ring Topology

Mesh Topology

In this type of topology, a host is connected to one or two or more than two hosts. This topology may have hosts having point-to-point connection to every other hosts or may also have hosts which are having point to point connection to few hosts only.Hosts in Mesh topology also work as relay for other hosts which do not have direct point-to-point links. Mesh technology comes into two flavors:

*Full Mesh: All hosts have a point-to-point connection to every other host in the network. Thus for every new host n(n-1)/2 cables (connection) are required. It provides the most reliable network structure among all network topologies.
***Partially Mesh:** Not all hosts have point-to-point connection to every other host. Hosts connect to each other in some arbitrarily fashion. This topology exists where we need to provide reliability to some host whereas others are not as such necessary.
Image of Mesh Topology

Tree Topology

Also known as Hierarchical Topology is the most common form of network topology in use present day. This topology imitates as extended Star Topology and inherits properties of Bus topology.

This topology divides the network in to multiple levels/layers of network. Mainly in LANs, a network is bifurcated into three types of network devices. The lowest most is access-layer where user’s computer are attached. The middle layer is known as distribution layer, which works as mediator between upper layer and lower layer. The Top most layer is known as Core layer, and is central point of the network, i.e. root of the tree from which all nodes fork.All neighboring hosts have point-to-point connection between them. Like bus topology, if the root goes down, the entire network suffers. Though it is not the single point of failure. Every connection serves as point of failure, failing of which divides the network into unreachable segment and so on.
Image of Tree Topologies

Hybrid Topology

A network structure whose design contains more than one topology is said to be Hybrid Topology. Hybrid topology inherits merits and demerits of all the incorporating topologies.The below picture represents an arbitrarily Hybrid topology. The combining topologies may contain attributes of Star, Ring, Bus and Daisy-chain topologies. Most WANs are connected by means of dual Ring topology and networks connected to them are mostly Star topology networks. Internet is the best example of largest Hybrid topology.
Image of Hybrid Topology

Daisy Chain

This topology connects all its hosts in a linear fashion. Similar to Ring topology, all hosts in this topology are connected to two hosts only, except the end hosts. That is if the end hosts in Daisy Chain are connected then it represents Ring topology.Each link in Daisy chain topology represents single point of failure. Every link failure splits the network into two segment. Every intermediate host works as relay for its immediate hosts.
Image of Daisy Chain

posted Aug 5, 2014 by Vrije Mani Upadhyay

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A network can be as small as distance between your mobile phone and its Bluetooth headphone and as large as the Internet itself, covering the whole geographical world.

Personal Area Network

A Personal Area Network or simply PAN, is smallest network which is very personal to a user. This may include Bluetooth enabled devices or infra-red enabled devices. PAN has connectivity range up to 10 meters. PAN may include wireless computer keyboard and mouse, Bluetooth enabled headphones, wireless printers and TV remotes for example.Piconet is an example Bluetooth enabled Personal Area Network which may contain up to 8 devices connected together in a master-slave fashion.
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Local Area Network

A computer network spanned inside a building and operated under single administrative system is generally termed as Local Area Network. Usually, Local Area Network covers an organization’s offices, schools, college/universities etc. Number of systems may vary from as least as two to as much as 16 million.
LAN provides a useful way of sharing resources between end users. Resources like Printers, File Servers, Scanners and internet is easy sharable among computers.Local Area Networks are composed of inexpensive networking and routing equipment. It may contains local servers serving file storage and other locally shared applications. It mostly operates on private IP addresses and generally do not involve heavy routing. LAN works under its own local domain and controlled centrally.

LAN uses either Ethernet or Token-ring technology. Ethernet is most widely employed LAN technology and uses Star topology while Token-ring is rarely seen.

LAN can be wired or wireless or in both forms at once.
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Metropolitan Area Network

MAN, generally expands throughout a city such as cable TV network. It can be in form of Ethernet, Token-ring, ATM or FDDI.

Metro Ethernet is a service which is provided by ISPs. This service enables its users to expand their Local Area Networks. For example, MAN can help an organization to connect all of its offices in a City.Backbone of MAN is high-capacity and high-speed fiber optics. MAN is works in between Local Area Network and Wide Area Network. MAN provides uplink for LANs to WANs or Internet.
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Wide Area Network

As name suggests, this network covers a wide area which may span across provinces and even a whole country. Generally, telecommunication networks are Wide Area Network. These networks provides connectivity to MANs and LANs. Equipped with very high speed backbone, WAN uses very expensive network equipment.WAN may use advanced technologies like Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Frame Relay and SONET. WAN may be managed under by more than one administration.
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A network of networks is called internetwork, or simply Internet. It is the largest network in existence on this planet. Internet hugely connects all WANs and it can have connection to LANs and Home networks. Internet uses TCP/IP protocol suite and uses IP as its addressing protocol. Present day, Internet is widely implemented using IPv4. Because of shortage of address spaces, it is gradually migrating from IPv4 to IPv6.

Internet enables its users to share and access enormous amount of information worldwide. It uses www, ftp, email services, audio and video streaming etc. At huge level, internet works on Client-Server model.

Internet uses very high speed backbone of fiber optics. To inter-connect various continents, fibers are laid under sea known to us as submarine communication cable.

Internet is widely deployed on World Wide Web services using HTML linked pages and is accessible by some client software known as Web Browsers. When a user requests a page using some web browser located on some Web Server anywhere in the world, the Web Server responds with the proper HTML page. The communication delay is very low.

Internet is serving many proposes and is involved in many aspects of life. Some of them are:

Web sites
Instant Messaging
Social Media
Resource Sharing
Audio and Video Streaming


Definition Of Computer Network:

A system of interconnected computers and computerized peripherals (such as printers) is called network. This interconnection among computers facilitates information sharing among them. Computers may connect to each other by wired media or wireless media.

Network Categories:

Computer Networks are classified into many categories based on their respective attributes. These includes:

  • Geographical span

  • Inter-connectivity

  • Administration

  • Architecture

Geographical Span

Geographically a network can be seen in one of the following categories:

  • It may be spanned across your table, among Bluetooth enabled devices. Ranging not more than few meters.
  • It may be spanned across a whole building, including intermediate devices to connect all floors.
  • It may be spanned across a whole city.
  • It may be spanned across multiple cities or provinces.
  • It may be one network covering whole world.


Components of a network can be connected to each other differently in some fashion. By connectedness we mean either logically or physically or both ways.

1-Every single device can be connected to every other device on network, making the network mesh.
2-All devices can be connected to a single medium but geographically disconnected, created bus like structure.
3-Each device is connected to its left and right peers only, creating linear structure.
4-All devices connected together with a single device, creating star like structure.
5-All devices connected arbitrarily using all previous ways to connect each other, resulting in a hybrid structure.


From an administrator’s point of view, a network can be private network which belongs a single autonomous system and cannot accessed outside its physical or logical domain. Or a network can be a public network, which can be accessed by all.

Network Architecture

1-There can be one or more systems acting as Server. Other being Client, request the Server to serve requests. Servers take and process request on behalf of Clients.
2-Two systems can be connected Point-to-Point, or in other words back-to-back fashion. They both reside on same level and called peers.
3-There can be hybrid network which involves network architecture of both the above types.

Network Applications

Computer systems and peripherals are connected to form a network provides bunch of advantages:

1-Resource sharing such as printers and storage devices.
2-Exchange of Information by means of eMails and FTP.
3-Information sharing by using Web or Internet.
4-Interaction with other users using dynamic web pages.
5-IP phones
6-Video Conferences
7-Parallel computing
8-Instant Messaging

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