Network Topologies

Star Topology

In a star network each device on the network has its own cable that connects to a switch or hub. A hub sends every packet of data to every device, whereas a switch only sends a packet of data to the destination device.

Advantages Disadvantages
very reliable – if one cable or device fails then all the others will continue to work expensive to install as this type of network uses the most cable (network cable is expensive)
high performing as no data collisions can occur extra hardware 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

In a ring network each device (workstation, server, printer) is connected to two other devices, this forms a ring for the signals to travel around. Each packet of data on the network travels in one direction and each device receives each packet in turn until the destination device receives it.


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.


If the main cable fails or any device is faulty then the whole network will fail.

Bus Topology

In a bus network all the workstations, servers and printers are joined to one cable (the bus). At each end of the cable a terminator is fitted to stop signals reflecting back down the bus.

Advantages Disadvantages
easy to install if the main cable fails or gets damaged the whole network will fail
cheap to install, as it doesn’t require much cable as more workstations are connected the performance of the network will become slower because of collisions
every workstation on the network "sees" all of the data on the network – this is a security risk

Mesh Topology

Mesh network or mesh topology definition is a topology of network which its nodes transmit data for the network. Each node cooperates in the relaying of data or information in the network. The routing technique or the flooding technique is the design of how the mesh topology works in a network. The message from the source is relayed through a path by simply going through node after node until it identifies the matched receiver. With the use of routing method all the nodes are ensured that it is available upon transmission even if some of the nodes are broken, this process is called the self-healing algorithm which makes it easier for the network engineers to troubleshoot issues regarding the data propagation.

What Are The Mesh Topology Advantages and Disadvantages?

Every network connection has its own advantages and disadvantages. For mesh topology the advantages and disadvantages are:


A broken node won’t distract the transmission of data in a mesh network. Each node is connected to several other nodes which make it easier to relay data. A broken device will be ignored by the signals and will then find a new one that is connected with the node.

Additional devices in a mesh topology will not affect its network connection. Hence it will improve the traffic in the network. Mesh topology makes a large data center that simulates useful information to its nodes.

A mesh topology can handle high amount of network traffic since every additional device into the network is considered a node. Interconnected devices can simultaneously transfer data smoothly and will not complicate the network connection.


Maintaining mesh networks can be very hard to manage. It requires continuous supervision because of the redundancy present in the network. Skilled network administrators will find it easy to manage this kind of topology.

Due to the fact that building this topology requires a lot of devices it will need a lot of capital to invest in. It may be expensive but the service it provides you will definitely give back the invested capital.

Tree Topology

A tree topology combines characteristics of linear bus and star topologies. It consists of groups of star-configured workstations connected to a linear bus backbone cable (See fig. 3). Tree topologies allow for the expansion of an existing network, and enable schools to configure a network to meet their needs.


Hybrid, as the name suggests, is mixture of two different things. Similarly in this type of topology we integrate two or more different topologies to form a resultant topology which has good points(as well as weaknesses) of all the constituent basic topologies rather than having characteristics of one specific topology. This combination of topologies is done according to the requirements of the organization.

For example, if there exists a ring topology in one office department while a bus topology in another department, connecting these two will result in Hybrid topology. Remember connecting two similar topologies cannot be termed as Hybrid topology. Star-Ring and Star-Bus networks are most common examples of hybrid network.