There are two levels in a network topology and there are five kinds of network topologies. The networks can be connected at two levels, the physical and the other is logical. A topology basically defines how the network has to be designed and provides a structure to the network.
The five different kinds of topologies are
The bus topology is a series of nodes which are all connected to a backbone. Bus networks typically work well for smaller networks and use Ethernet cables for networking. It is easy to maintain and troubleshoot in a bus network. All the nodes in a bus network are dependant on the backbone and even if one node fails the remaining nodes work.
A ring network is circular in shape and every node will have one node on either side of it. The ring topology is rare to come across because of its limitations. If there is damaged cable or breakdown in any one of the nodes then the entire network stops functioning.
A star topology is based on a central node which acts as a hub. A star topology is common in homes networks where all the computers connect to the single central computer using it as a hub. The medium used to connect is the UTP or the untwisted pair cable. In case one node stops functioning or if there is cable damage the rest of the network would still work.
The tree topology is a group of star networks put together. The only difference is that the tree topology follows a hierarchy in structure and the entire tree is dependant on this hierarchy.
Mesh topology is a group of nodes which are all connected to each other and many types of connections are possible in a mesh topology. Every single node is connected to the other nodes in a mesh topology and the chances of connection break downs are very minimal in a mesh topology. Mesh topology is mostly used on a WAN.
Network topologies are the most important part of the communication and the communication begins in the network. There are many kinds of network, the cabled network, the wireless technology, mobile technology, satellite communications and a combination of all these. Wireless network are increasingly becoming popular among many companies so that they need not spend too much on cabling and it is convenient too. However there are security issues in wireless technology and if the network has to be highly secure then cable is still the best bet.
A company may choose to sue any type of network but they still need a topology to design the communications system and plan the data flow and which order data will take while traveling. This is very important and for this you need to decide one of the topology formats. Even wireless networks need to conform to a star, mesh, or a tree topology.
In order to set up a network a person should be a network engineer and should know the functionalities of the network topology from a physical level. Then there is the logical or the software level where the network needs to be programmed. However the primary step is at the physical level. Once the network is set up physically then the software’s can be installed and the protocols can be configured. Troubleshooting networks at the logical level is very simple, but the same cannot be said at the physical level. To identify the problem the network engineer should know the entire functioning of the network topologies.