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Network Topology

It’s useful to have a small list on how possible networks can be connected to each other. As I am still progressing on learning and advancing my knowledge about networks, I decided to take a look at every topology known in the world of networking and listed them in a small summary. Down below you can find my notes I created:


The physical topology refers to the physical layout of the wires in a network, for instance the internet cables. The logical topology refers to how data moves through the network, for instance packets.

Full Mesh:

All the devices are directly connected to all the other devices in the network. Therefore it provides fill redundancy and is also the most expensive of all the topologies as it requires multiple NIC’s and cables for each node. This scenario is often found in the WAN’s (Wide Area Network).

Full Mesh Toplogy

Partial Mesh:

All devices are directly connected to at least two other devices. This provides strong redundancy but not as strong as the full mesh where every device is connected with each other. For this reason less NIC’s and cables are required so it’s still expensive, but not as expensive as the Full Mesh. You can see the internet (as a whole) as a Partial Mesh.

Partial Mesh Topology

Bus Topology:

All the nodes connect directly to a main cable called the bus. Only one node can send a signal at a time. There is more collisions on the network the more nodes are active as they are all sending signals at the same time. Too many collisions can overload and bring down the network.

It is the least expensive compared to the other topologies, however, it’s also the less redundant.

Bus Network Topology

Ring Topology:

Similar to a Bus Topology, but connected in a circle. The packets move in a ring around the network. Each node give can receive a signal and can reply to that. Heavy traffic will not bring down the network, but will make it slower. A damaged node or a connected cable can bring down the network as a ‘cut’ is made in the ring (circle).

Ring Network Topology

(Hierarchical) Star Topology:

Often used in most of the LAN networks. More expensive than the Bus Topology as it requires more cables to connect nodes, but it won’t bring down a network if a single cable damaged.

It’s often connected to a switch. Because of this it’s possible there is a single point of failure as the ‘centralised’ device will not send or forward packages if it’s damaged. If the whole network goes down a central device is causing the problem, in this case it would be the switch.

If a single node goes down, for instance the computer, the problem lies with that single node as other devices are still working.

Star Topology Network

Hybrid Star Topology:

Basically combines the Star Topology with another Topology. There are different Hybrid Star Topologies:


Physical Hybrid Star Topology:

A network that contains two or more physical topologies.  For instance a switch linked as a Bus Topology, but the nodes are connected as a Star Topology.


Physical Logical Hybrid Star Topology:

The network physically looks it functions a certain way, but actually functions differently. A good example would be a Ring Topology that functions as a Star Topology or a Star Topology that is using a hub.

If you’re looking for more information about networks, you might be interested in checking the network category on my website.

Images on this page are taken from Google and are copyrighted by their respective owners.

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