Network Topology

The network topology defines the structure of the network. The network topology can be described in two ways. The physical topology, which defines the actual layout of the network media, and the logical topology, which defines how host access the network media.

Common types of physical topology

  • Bus
  • Ring
  • Star
  • Extended star
  • Hierarchical
  • Mesh

Types of logical topology

  • Broadcast
  • Token Passing

The logical topology of a network describes how hosts interact with the network in order to send and receive data.

You can think of this being like a queue in your local Post Office or at your Delicatessen.In your Post Office you might have to queue and wait your turn to be served at the counter, whereas in a Delicatessen you might have to get a token in order to get a place in the queue.

Broadcast logical topology is used in Ethernet and simply means that each host checks that the data being sent on the network is for them or not, the sender broadcasts the data onto the network. There is no order or queue to use the network as long as no other host is sending data then you are free to send.

Token-passing is the other main type of logical topology which is used by IBM’s token ring. It uses special tokens. These tokens get passed around the ring sequentially, and which ever host has it, is allowed to send data, if it has no data to send it simply passes the token to the next host in the ring.

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