What is a network topology?
We all must have seen in offices, banks, schools, colleges, etc. that the data of one computer is accessible to the other computer and most of us wonder how it is done. These computers are connected to one another with the help of cables and this system of connecting one computer to another is called networking. In a network , a computer is called node. Networking follows certain patterns/layouts i.e. the nodes should be connected in particular patterns. These patterns of interconnection of nodes is called a topology . Topologies are formed because the interconnection between the nodes impacts performance of the nodes. Before we learn about different types of topologies in detail we must know what is point-to-point link .
Point-to-point link: Point-to-point link basically work on two functions i.e.-transmit and receive. Its main characteristic is that each node receives exactly from one transmitter, and each transmitter transmits exactly to one receiver.
Point-to-point networks can grow in several ways.
Major topologies are:
(i)Star topology (ii) bus topology (iii) ring/circular topology (iv) graph topology
(v) tree topology (vi) mesh topology
- Star topology: it consists of a central node to which all the other nodes are connected by a single path. Its most common example is 10Base-T ethernet network installations.
- Bus topology: It consists of a single length of the transmission medium(cable) and various nodes are connected to this cable. The host in fixed at one of the ends and it forme there it communicates with all the nodes attached along its length.
There are terminators at both the ends to absorb the signal.
- Ring topology: in this each node is connected to two and only two neighbouring nodes . The data is accepted from one node and is transmitted onwards to another node i.e. data travles in one direction only. After passing through each node , it returns to the sending node , which removes it.
- Graph topology: in a graph topology, the nodes are connected in a haphazard(random) manner i.e. there may or may not be a link between the two or more nodes or there may be multiple links.
- Mesh topology: in this topology, each node is connected to mora than one node to provide alternative route/link in case the host is either down or too busy.
It is considered excellent for long distance networking as it provides extensive backup.
Summary: In computer science, two computers are connected to each other using various network topologies and the selection of the topologies depends upon factors such as cost, flexibility and reliability.