A network topology describes the arrangement of computers, cables and other components in a network. It is a map of the physical network. The type of topology used affects the type and capabilities of the network hardware, its management and the possibilities for future expansion.
There is a physical and a logical aspect to the topology:
- The physical topology describes how the physical components are connected in a network.
- The logical topology describes how network data is transferred via the physical components.
There are five basic topologies:
- Bus - The computers are connected using a standard shared cable.
- Star - Computers are connected to cable segments that branch from a central point or hub.
- Ring - The computers are connected with a cable that forms a loop around a central point.
- Meshes - The computers in the network are connected to each other computer via a cable.
- Hybrid - Two or more topologies are used simultaneously.