Network Topologies

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Network Operating Systems

James S. Clark

Mr. Robert David

Maintaining Microcomputer Systems ITC3840-07C

September 10, 2008

Network Topologies

Network design plays an integral part in operation and performance. A network consists of multiple computers connected using some type of interface, each having one or more interface devices such as a Network Interface Card (NIC) and/or a serial device for PPP networking. Each computer is supported by network software that provides the server or client functionality. The hardware used to transmit data across the network is called the media. A network’s topology dictates the media to be used, the type of channel access, and the speed at which the network operates. It not only refers to the physical layout of its computers, cables and resources, but also how those components communicate with each other. Cable arrangement in a network is considered to be physical topology whereas the path between computers that data travels is logical topology.

According to an internet article on, “network topologies are categorized into the following basic types: Bus, ring, star, tree and mesh” (Bradley, 2008). This article also stated, “Bus networks (not to be confused with the system bus of a computer) use a common backbone to connect all devices. With a single cable, the backbone functions as a shared communication medium that devices attach or tap into with an interface connector.

In a ring network, every device has exactly two neighbors for communication purposes. All messages travel through a ring in the same direction (either "clockwise" or "counterclockwise"). A failure in any cable or device breaks the loop and can take down the entire network.

A star network features a central connection point called a "hub" that may be a hub, switch or router. Devices typically connect to the hub with Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Ethernet. A star network generally requires more...