One-Stop Guide to Understanding What Is Network Topology?

The design and setting of the network devices in a communication channel is termed the Network Topology. In the current technological era, network topology plays an important role in structuring the network models according to the user's requirement, as network topology proves helpful in maintaining the network, troubleshooting errors, and detecting faulty devices.

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What is Network Topology?


Network Topology refers to the pattern or arrangement in which network devices and computer systems are interconnected with each other. You can breakdown the functioning of network topology into two basic terms:

  • Network - It is referred to as a node, which represents a computer or a device in the connection that is connected to share information and data.
  • Topology - Topology refers to the pattern and design of the connection between multiple interconnected nodes that oversee the information flow.

Why Apply Network Topology?


Network topology provides you with many advantages, some of which are:

  • Network Security and Easy Troubleshooting - Network topology provides you with the ability to maintain network security much more efficiently and helps during troubleshooting round the clock.
  • Network Structure - It also provides information about the network connection between the devices and the various systems connected in the network.

Now, move on to the next heading in this tutorial on ‘What is Network Topology?’

Types of Network Topology

Under the connecting design and structure of the devices in a network, topology can be classified into the following types:

Bus Topology


  • This topology is structured to connect all the nodes (network devices) in a single network cable, referred to as the backbone cable.
  • In a bus topology, the data shared by a node is sent to all the nodes in the connection, irrespective of it being the receiver node.
  • It is applied mostly for ethernet and personal network services and is easy to configure compared to other topologies.

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Advantages of Bus topology:

  • Easy Installation: Because of the single cable design requirement, it is easy to set up.
  • Cost-Effective: No network devices such as the hub or switch must be connected to the backbone cable.
  • Prevent Network Failure: In case of a single node failure, the other nodes are not damaged.

Disadvantages of Bus topology:

  • Complex Troubleshooting: Because of the simple configuration, detecting errors in the nodes becomes troublesome.
  • Network Interference: In the case of multiple nodes, the shared data crashes into each other and destroys the signal.
  • Loss of Data: Due to direct data exchange signal loss is quite high.

Ring Topology


  • This topology is designed similarly to the bus topology, except with its ends connected, making a ring pattern.
  • The data flow is from the origin node to the next node until it reaches the receiver node in the network, and the data flow only in the clockwise direction.
  • Due to its ring structure, the topology connection does not have termination ends.
  • The working pattern of the topology is known as the token passing,

    • Token Passing - The network access method is designed to pass a token from one node to another in the network.
    • Token - It refers to the frame that is transmitted in the network.

Advantages of Ring Topology:

  • Network Management: Here, removing faulty devices becomes easier.
  • Easy Installation: The required hardware is easily available and easy to set up.
  • Cost-Effective: No requirement to add any network devices like hub or switch in the network.

Disadvantages of Ring Topology:

  • Network Crash: An issue in a single node can lead to the crash of the whole network.
  • Slow Data Transfer: This is due to the unidirectional movement of the data, data transmission is slow in the network.
  • Problem Troubleshooting: To identify faulty nodes, special equipment is needed; otherwise, the whole network is compromised.

Star Topology


  • In this topology, the node arrangement is made in a pattern where all the network components are connected to a central hub, a switch, or a system.
  • The central device is termed the server, and the connecting nodes in the network are known as clients.
  • This topology is widely used due to its network structure and network advantages.

Advantages of Star Topology:

  • Low Error Chance: Due to the connection of each node with the central hub, an error in a single node does not affect the whole connection.
  • Easy Troubleshooting: Through the central hub, troubleshooting problems and network issues become easier in the network.
  • Network Command: Due to its efficient design, complex network features are easy to work with.
  • Efficient Speed: It allows fast data transfer in the network.

Disadvantages of Star Topology:

  • Central Hub Failure: In case of a problem with the central hub, the whole network is shut down.
  • Connection issues: You may experience this with the network devices, as they need a delicate configuration for installation.

Tree Topology


  • Tree topology is a combination of star and bus topology.
  • The node connection in the topology follows the hierarchical pattern, where the topmost node is the root and the branching nodes as the child nodes.
  • They share data through the root-child format in the network.

Advantages of Tree Topology:

  • Installing a new extended network is easy due to the star characteristic of the topology.
  • The ease of troubleshooting faulty nodes increases the efficiency of the network and doesn’t affect the main network.
  • Tree topology is preferred for transmitting signals over large distances without having any signal loss.

Disadvantages of Tree Topology:

  • Troubleshooting Issues: Searching for faulty nodes is difficult due to the complex design of the network.
  • Network Failure: This topology uses a backbone cable for connecting multiple star nodes, but in the case of bus cable failure, the whole network is compromised.

Mesh Topology


  • In this topology, the connected nodes are connected to multiple nodes repetitively.
  • This forms multiple paths to connect to the required node.
  • This topology is preferred for wireless network connections that span over a large area of nodes.
  • Mesh topology is divided into two types:
    • Full Mesh topology - In this connection, each node is connected to every other node available in the network.
    • Partial Mesh topology - In this type, some nodes are connected to all the other nodes in the network.

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Advantages of Mesh topology:

  • High-Speed Connection: The transmission speed is very high due to wireless connectivity.
  • Reliable Connectivity: Due to wireless connection design, the whole network is not affected in case of a network issue.

Disadvantages of Mesh Topology:

  • High Cost: The connection nodes require multiple cables and network devices for data transmission.
  • Complex Patterns: Due to the interconnection of nodes, management of the network nodes becomes difficult.
  • Efficiency Issues: Because of the repeated network connections, efficiency is decreased in the connection.

Now, move on to the next heading in the tutorial.

Factors Affecting Topology Choice


Because of the presence of various connection patterns and designs in a topology, some factors may affect the overall performance of the network topology, which are:

  • Reliability - The topology chosen should provide sufficient security to the data being transmitted in the network and provide measures in case of network failure.
  • Reconfigurable - In the case of adding or removing a node in the network, the topology should provide sufficient flexibility for the user.
  • Cost - The installation cost of the chosen network topology should be compatible with the user. High-cost installation and low efficiency may affect the overall performance of the network topology.


In this tutorial on ‘What is Network Topology?’, you looked into the details regarding network topology. You learned about different types of network topology and their working in a network, continuing with some on how to choose the most suitable network topology for our connection.

If you want to learn more about the working of a topology in the network and the different factors that affect the implementation of the topology in a connection, you can refer to Simplilearn’s Cyber Security Expert course. By the end of this professional course, you will become more efficient in choosing the best possible topology for your network connection.

Do you have any questions related to this topic on ‘What is Network Topology?’ If yes, feel free to mention them in the comment section at the bottom of this page. Our team will help you solve your queries ASAP.

About the Author

Anmol KapoorAnmol Kapoor

Anmol is a Research Analyst who aims to become a Data Scientist one day. He enjoys Data Management systems and analysis. You will find him reading a book when he is not working.

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