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# Network Topologies: Bus, Ring, and Star

Topology is the branch of mathematics which examines geometric shapes and theirs characteristics. It is also used to refer to the properties of the different types of networks. In terms of computer networks, topology pertains to the design of the connected devices. Topology can also be logical or physical. As networks have shapes, this shape has a lot to do with the way the networks function (Harris, 2008). The three general network topologies are the bus, ring, and star topologies.

Star topology is the commonly used in LAN (local area network) (“An Overview of Computer Network Topology,” 2007). This is also the most popular topology type and has separate cables that connect computers to the central hub or access unit (Mueller, 2003, p. 1089). In this topology, each device is connected to the hub through a point-to-point link. Point-to-point means that two nodes are directly connected together (Harris, 2008). Nodes refer to workstations, server, or peripherals.

The data in a star network passes through the concentrator or hub then proceeds to the destination. The hub or concentrator serves as the manager and controller of the network’s functions (Florida Center for Instructional Technology College of Education, 2005). One of the advantages of star topology is that it is appropriate for systems needing centralized control. This is because the host computer has resources and databases available for the computers (The University of Mississippi, n. d. ). In addition, each device in star topology is isolated (Harris, 2008).

This is advantageous especially in cases when there is a failure in the network connection because it affects only the computer that is involved. Thus, other computers can function normally (Mueller, 2003, p. 1089). In addition, star topology is easier to install compared to other topologies. There are also no disruptions to the network when removing or connecting some devices. Also, it is easier to remove parts, especially when there is failure in the network (Florida Center for Instructional Technology College of Education, 2005).

Furthermore, it is noted that it is easier to troubleshoot and manage the whole network in star topology. This is because the central point, where data passes through, has diagnostic devices (Harris, 2008). Thus, one is spared from searching the entire building to find the problem. However, star topology has some disadvantages to it. It is said to cost more because there are more wires required. Plus, labor is needed for the installation of wire. Additional costs are also needed for hubs (Hallberg, 2005, p. 48). The other type of network topology is the bus topology.

Devices are attached to a single transmission medium. Bus topology uses electrical cable whose ends are terminated with a terminating resistor (Harris, 2008). The advantage of bus topology is that it requires less cable length compared to a star topology. Thus, the cost is least expensive because it requires less material and less labor for installation (Hallberg, 2005, p. 42). Plus, a computer or peripheral can be easily connected to a linear bus (Florida Center for Instructional Technology College of Education, 2005).

One of the prominent disadvantages of bus topology is that all stations in the bus are affected once a computer or network connection malfunctions (Mueller, 2003, p. 1088). It is also required to have terminators at the ends of the backbone cable. Also, when problem exists, it is hard to identify where the problem originates (Florida Center for Instructional Technology College of Education, 2005). The ring topology, on the other hand, refers to devices or computers that have adjacent neighbors for communication.

The messages also travel in “the same directory whether clockwise or anti-clockwise” (“An Overview of Computer Network Topology,” 2007). It is called ‘ring’ because this topology indicates a physical closed loop that has point-to-point links. Each node within the ring is a repeater. It strengthens the messages that it receives before sending it to the other nodes (Harris, 2008). One of the main advantages of a ring topology is that no one computer monopolizes the whole network because every device is given equal access to an arbitration mechanism called ‘token.

’ It is also easy to install and the costs are lower. This configuration is best for small networks (Murray, 2007). One disadvantage of ring topology is that when the cable or any device is affected, it can lead to the breakdown of the whole network (“An Overview of Computer Network Topology,” 2007) and it is also hard to troubleshoot (Murray, 2007). Network topology refers to the design of the connected devices in a network. Network topology includes star, bus, and ring topologies. Star topology refers to a connection where the devices are connected to the central hub or access point.

Bus topology refers to devices that are connected in a line and are terminated at both ends. Ring topology refers to devices that are connected in a physical, closed loop. References “An Overview of Computer Network Topology. ” (2007). Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://www. networktutorials. info/topology. html Florida Center for Instructional Technology College of Education. (2005). Topology. University of South Florida. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://fcit. coedu. usf. edu/network/chap5/chap5. htm Hallberg, B. A. (2005). Networking: A beginner’s guide.

United States: McGraw-Hill Professional. Harris, M. P. (2008). Exploring network topologies. Del Mar College. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://academy. delmar. edu/Courses/ITNW2313/3Topology. html Mueller, S. (2003). Upgrading and repairing PCs. United States: Que Publishing. Murray, J. (2007). Physical vs. logical topologies. The SANS Institute. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://www. giac. org/resources/whitepaper/network/32. php The University of Mississippi. (n. d. ). Network topology. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://sunset. backbone. olemiss. edu/~misbook/conetom. htm

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