Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The shape of a local-area network (LAN) or other communications system. Topologies are either or physical .
There are four principal topologies used in LANs.
bus topology: All devices are connected to a central cable, called the bus or backbone. Bus networks are relatively inexpensive and easy to install for small networks. Ethernet systems use a bus topology. ring topology : All devices are connected to one another in the shape of a closed loop, so that each device is connected directly to two other devices, one on either side of it. Ring topologies are relatively expensive and difficult to install, but they offer high bandwidth and can span large distances. star topology: All devices are connected to a central . Star networks are relatively easy to install and manage, but bottlenecks can occur because all hub data must pass through the hub.
tree topology: A tree topology combines characteristics of linear bus and star topologies. It consists of groups of star-configured workstations connected to a linear bus backbone cable.
These topologies can also be mixed. For example, a bus-star network consists of a high-bandwidth bus, called the
backbone, which connects a collections of slower-bandwidth star segments.
For network diagrams, see
Network Topology Diagrams in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.
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Understanding the topology of LAN technologies can tell you a lot about your alternatives when installing or expanding a LAN. Yahoo!'s network topology page Yahoo!'s directory of network topology.