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Network topology is a usually schematic description of the arrangement of a network, including its nodes and connecting lines.
In the bus network topology, every workstation is connected to a main cable called the bus. Therefore, in effect, each workstation is directly connected to every other workstation in the network. It is one of the simple forms of networking where a failure of a device does not affect the others. But failure of the shared communication line make all other devices fail.
In the star network topology, there is a central computer or server to which all the workstations are directly connected. Every workstation is indirectly connected to every other through the central computer. It is easy to install but the dependency on the central computer is high.
In the ring network topology, the workstations are connected in a closed loop configuration. Adjacent pairs of workstations are directly connected. Other pairs of workstations are indirectly connected, the data passing through one or more intermediate nodes. If one fails, the whole LAN fails.
If a Token Ring protocol is used in a star or ring topology, the signal travels in only one direction, carried by a so-called token from node to node.
The mesh network topology employs either of two schemes, called full mesh and partial mesh. In the full mesh topology, each workstation is connected directly to each of the others. In the partial mesh topology, some workstations are connected to all the others, and some are connected only to those other nodes with which they exchange the most data.
The tree network topology uses two or more star networks connected together. The central computers of the star networks are connected to a main bus. Thus, a tree network is a bus network of star networks. Also known as Hierarchical Topology is the most common form of network topology in use presently.