Top five types of network topology

Network topology is the different ways the nodes and links can be arranged or how the computers are connected to each other. In computer network, there are five types of topology. This classification is done based on geographical representation.

  • Ring Topology
  • Bus Topology
  • Mesh Topology
  • Star Topology
  • Hybrid Topology

Each device connects to two other devices and creates a circular path like in a ring. The data transfer occurs in one direction and until the data reach the intended destination, the data transfer from one device to another.


  • As all data transfer in one direction, the collisions hardly can occur.
  • Data can be transferred at high speed.
  • Easy to install.
  • Devices can be added or removed easily.
  • A network server is not needed to control network connectivity between devices.


  • All data must be transferred from one device to other devices which makes it slower.
  • If one device fails, the entire network fails.
  • Data traffic.
  • The hardware needs to connect devices to the network is expensive.

Each device in the network is connected to one main cable and this cable is called a “backbone”. Hence, bus topology is referred to as line topology. The devices are connected to the main cable through several drop lines. Bus topology can have limited drop lines and a limited distance of the main cable.


  • Works well for a small network.
  • Easier to connect devices to the network.
  • Requires less cable.


  • Not suitable for large networks.
  • If the main cable is damaged, the entire network fails.
  • If the network fails, it is difficult to identify the problem.
  • Difficult to troubleshoot individual devices.
  • Not possible to add new devices and expand the network.

Each device is connected to all the other devices through a dedicated point-to-point link. Mesh topology is commonly used for wireless networks. If we have n devices, each device must be connected with n-1 devices and the number of connections is n(n-1)/2.


  • Multiple devices can transmit data at the same time. (No data traffic)
  • If one device fails, still the network works well.
  • Devices can be added without having any disruption to data transmission between other devices.
  • Easier to identify the problems.
  • More secure.


  • The cost is high.
  • Installing and maintaining is difficult and time-consuming.
  • The amount of wires required is high.
  • The number of I/O ports required is high.

Every device is connected to a central network device like a hub, switch. This central network device acts as a server and other devices act as clients. Star topology is one of the most common network setup. Communication occurs through the server and direct communication between devices is not allowed.


  • Easy to add devices to the network.
  • If one device fails, still the network works well.
  • The cost is less.
  • Easy to install.
  • The required number of cables is less.


  • If the server shuts down, the entire network fails.
  • The server needs to maintain regularly.

In this network setup, two or more different types of topology are used. We can choose the topologies to mix together, depends on our requirements, the number of computers using, the location, required network performance. The most commonly used hybrid topologies are,

  • Star-Ring hybrid topology

A combination of star topology and ring topology is called a Star-Ring hybrid topology. Here, two or more star topologies connect together through a ring topology.

  • Star-Bus hybrid topology

A combination of star topology and bus topology is called a Star-Bus hybrid topology. Here, two or more ring topologies connect together through a bus topology.

This is the end of the article. I hope this would be helpful to you all.

Thank you!!!

Undergraduate-Faculty of Information Technology | University of Moratuwa | Sri Lanka