What are different types of network topologies? Expain the advantages and disadvantages of each topology with diagram.

Topology refers to the way a network is laid out either physically or logically. Two or more devices connect to a link; two or more links form a topology. It is the geographical representation of the relationship of all the links and linking devices to each other.

1.     Mesh
2.     Star
3.     Tree
4.     Bus
5.     Ring

1. Mesh Topology:

Here every device has a dedicated point to point link to every other device. A fully connected mesh can have n(n-1)/2 physical channels to link n devices. It must have n-1 IO ports.

Figure: Mesh Topology

  1. They use dedicated links so each link can only carry its own data load. So traffic problem can be avoided.
  2. It is robust. If any one link get damaged it cannot affect others
  3. It gives privacy and security
  4. Fault identification and fault isolation are easy.

  1. The amount of cabling and the number IO ports required are very large. Since every device is connected to each other devices through dedicated links.
  2. The sheer bulk of wiring is larger then the available space
  3. Hardware required to connect each device is highly expensive.

A mesh network has 8 devices. Calculate total number of cable links and IO ports needed.
Number of devices = 8
Number of links     = n (n-1)/2
       = 8(8-1)/2
       = 28
Number of port/device = n-1
 = 8-1 = 7


Here each device has a dedicated link to the central ‘hub’. There is no direct traffic between devices. The transmission are occurred only through the central controller namely hub.

Figure: Star Topology

  1. Less expensive then mesh since each device is connected only to the hub.
  2. Installation and configuration are easy.
  3. Less cabling is need then mesh.
  4. Robustness.
  5. Easy to fault identification & isolation.

  1. Even it requires less cabling then mesh when compared with other topologies it still large.


It is a variation of star. Instead of all devices connected to a central hub here most of the devices are connected to a secondary hub that in turn connected with central hub. The central hub is an active hub. An active hub contains a repeater, which regenerate the received bit pattern before sending.

Figure: Tree Topology

The secondary hub may be active or passive. A passive hub means it just precedes a physical connection only.

  1. Can connect more than star.
  2. The distance can be increased.
  3. Can isolate and prioritize communication between different computers.


A bus topology is multipoint. Here one long cable is act as a backbone to link all the devices are connected to the backbone by drop lines and taps. A drop line is the connection between the devices and the cable. A tap is the splice into the main cable or puncture the sheathing.
Figure: Bus Topology
  1. Ease of installation.
  2. Less cabling.

  1. Difficult reconfiguration and fault isolation.
  2. Difficult to add new devices.
  3. Signal reflection at top can degradation in quality
  4. If any fault in backbone can stops all transmission.


Here each device has a dedicated connection with two devices on either side of it. The signal is passed in one direction from device to device until it reaches the destination and each device have repeater.
Figure: Ring Topology

  1. Easy to install.
  2. Easy to reconfigure.
  3. Fault identification is easy.
  1. Unidirectional traffic.
  2. Break in a single ring can break entire network.


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