3 Main Network Topologies

What are the three main network typologies?

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In the world of Information Technology, there are three main network typologies any IT professional should know about, including:

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  • Star—The star is the most commonly used topology. In a star, there is a single cable going from each connected device to a center device called a hub (or switch). Reliability is a major advantage of this topology—if a cable or device fails, the rest of the network is not impacted. It is also easier to troubleshoot than the other topologies. Finally, it is scalable and can also include wireless connections in the configuration. The disadvantage to this topology is that if the hub or switch fails, the entire network will go down. It is also more expensive to implement, requiring more cable and hardware.
  • Ring—The ring topology is a cable going from each computer to the other. The advantage of this topology is that data flows in one direction, which allows for a rapid transfer of data. The downside is that if the cable or a connected device fails, the entire network fails. It is more difficult to implement than a bus network, and it is harder to troubleshoot when there are problems.
  • Bus—The bus topology employs one cable with all of the computers (called nodes) connected by a smaller coaxial plug. The upside of this topology is that it is relatively cheap and easy to implement and does not require much cabling. The downside is that if the single cable breaks, then the whole network goes down. As more devices are connected, the speed if the network tends to slow down.

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