Everything about Computer Network Topologies


Physical topology of a network refers to the configuration of cables, computers, and other peripherals

Here is a list of few topologies

  • Star
  • Ring
  • Bus
  • Hybrid
  • Tree
  • Complete
  • Irregular

Let’s talk about these topologies in detail now.

BUS Topology

In bus topology, each computer is connected to a single cable through some kind of connector. 

A signal from the source travels in both directions to all machines connected on the bus cable until it finds the address on the network that is the intended recipient.

The data is ignored, if the machine address does not match the intended address. Alternatively, if the data is matched, it is accepted.

Advantages of BUS Topology

  • Cheap and easy to implement.
  • Requires less cable.
  • Does not use any specialized network equipment.

Disadvantages of BUS Topology

  • There is a network disruption when computers are added of removed
  • High cost of managing the network.
  • Single point of failure. A break in the cable will prevent all systems from accessing the network.
  • It is difficult to troubleshoot.

STAR Topology

In star topology, each machine is connected to a central hub or switch.

This allows, each and every machine on the network to have a point to point connection to the central hub.

All of the traffic which transverses the network passes through the central hub.

The hub then acts as a signal booster or repeater which in turn allows the signal to travel greater distances.

Star topology is most widely implemented and the hub is the single point of failure.

Advantages of STAR Topology

  • Easily expanded without disruption to the network.
  • Cable failure affects only a single user.
  • Easy to troubleshoot and isolate problems.

Disadvantages of STAR Topology

  • Requires more cable.
  • A central connecting device allows for a single point of failure.
  • More expensive than bus topologies because of the cost of the hubs.

RING Topology

In ring topology, each computer is connected to the network in a closed loop or a ring.

Each machine or computer has a unique address that is used for identification purposes.

Signal passes through each machine or computer connected to the ring in one direction.

Ring topologies typically utilize a token passing scheme, used to control access to the network.

Also, by utilizing this scheme, only one machine can transmit on the network at a time.

Advantages of RING Topology

  • Cable faults are easily located, making troubleshooting easier.
  • Ring networks are moderately easy to install.

Disadvantages of RING Topology

  • Expansion to the network can also cause network disruption.
  • A single break in the cable can also disrupt the entire network.


Tree network topology consists of a collection of buses connected by a branching cable with no closed loop. 

It allows the users to create networks using bridges, wherein message from any site can be received by all the other sites, until it reaches an end point.

There is an end point controller, that absorbs a message if it reaches an end point controller without being accepted by a host.

Advantages of TREE Topology

  • Message traffic can still flow through the network even if a single node fails.

Disadvantages of TREE Topology

  • Large cabling is required as compared to star and bus topology.
  • Tree network is very difficult to configure than other network topologies.
tree network topology

Hybrid Network Topology

It selects among the strong points of each topology and combines them further to meet the system’s communications requirements most effectively.


hybrid network

hybrid topology


Advantages of Hybrid Topology

  • This type of topology combines the benefits of different types of topologies in one topology.
  • Can be modified as per requirement.
  • It is extremely flexible.
  • It is very reliable.
  • It is easily scalable as Hybrid networks are built in a fashion which enables for easy integration of new hardware components.
  • Error detecting and trouble shooting is easy.
  • Handles large volume of traffic.
  • It is used for create large network.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Topology

  • It is a type of network expensive.
  • Design of a hybrid network is very complex.
  • There is change hardware in order to connect topology with another topology.
  • Usually hybrid architectures are usually larger in scales so they requires a lot of cables in installation process.
  • Hubs which are used to connect two distinct networks, are very costly. And hubs are different from usual hubs as they need to be intelligent enough to work with different architectures.
  • Installation is a difficult process.

Fully Connected or Complete (Mesh) Topology

  • In A mesh network each station is connected directly to every other station in the network.
  • It is a viable solution only for smaller networks.
  • The huge cabling cost and awkwardness of laying so many direct links make the mesh topology unattractive for LAN’s with a large number of stations.
  • On the other hand since all stations are directly linked to all other stations on exclusive links, this topology allows simultaneous communications between a number of pairs of stations.

Advantages of MESH Topology

  • Manages high amounts of traffic, because multiple devices can transmit data simultaneously.
  • A failure of one device does not cause a break in the network or transmission of data.
  • Adding additional devices does not disrupt data transmission between other devices.

Disadvantages of MESH Topology

The cost to implement is higher than other network topologies, making it a less desirable option. Building and maintaining the topology is difficult and time consuming. The chance of redundant connections is high, which adds to the high costs and potential for reduced efficiency.

Irregular Network Topology

  • An irregular network is similar to the fully connected except that the requirement of connecting every computer to every other is removed.
  • The cost and the flexibility to add a new computer is reasonable.
  • The effect of failure depends on the exact network topology.