Network Topologies


What is a Network Topology?

In communication networks, a topology is a usually schematic description of the arrangement of a network, including its nodes and connecting lines. There are two ways of defining network geometry: the physical topology and the logical (or signal) topology.

The physical topology of a network is the actual geometric layout of workstations. There are several common physical typologies, as described below and as shown in the illustration.

Pros and Cons of each Topology

Star Topology


  • it is very reliable – if one cable or device fails then all the others will continue to work
  • it is high-performing as no data collisions can occur


  • it is expensive to install as this type of network uses the most cable (network cable is expensive)
  • extra hardware is required (hubs or switches) which adds to cost
  • if a hub or switch fails, all the devices connected to it will have no network connection

Ring Topology

This type of network can transfer data quickly, even if there are a large number of devices connected because the data only flows in one direction, so there won’t be any data collisions. However, the real disadvantage is that if the main cable fails or any device is faulty, then the whole network will fail.

Bus Topology


  • it is easy to install
  • it is cheap to install, as it doesn't require much cable


  • if the main cable fails or gets damaged the whole network will fail
  • as more workstations are connected the performance of the network will become slower because of data collisions
  • every workstation on the network "sees" all of the data on the network – this is a security risk

Networking Components