Introduction to Networking and Data Communication

Network Topologies

By the end of the lesson you should be able to: Describe bus, ring, and star topologies state the advantages and disadvantages of each topology

Topology - refers to how the nodes of a network are connected.

Types of Topology

  • star topology
  • ring topology
  • bus topology

Star Topology

This is where all cables for each computer is being connected directly to the server via a hub or a switch. This implies that for hosts to communicate they have to do so through the server


  • each computer has a direct line to the server hence communication is very fast
  • when there is a fault on the wire linking the host and the server, there is no interference with the rest of the network i.e it is reliable.
  • a node can be added or removed without interfering with the entire network i.e it scalable
  • network management can be done centrally


  • failure of the central switch node may bring down the entire network
  • more cabling is required hence expensive

Bus Topology

This is where is a single central trunk/cable/backbone/bus on which all the workstations are connected. Usually, the trunk/bus/backbone has a terminator on both ends to prevent signal loss.


  • new computers can be added without disrupting other computers
  • installing a bus topology network is easy
  • it is less costly


  • any fault/breakage along the backbone brings down the whole network
  • determining the point of failure is very difficult
  • since there is a high rate of collision during data transmission, very few computers can be connected to the network at a time
  • every workstation can see all the data on the network

Ring Topology

it is where the workstations are set out in a ring using a cable. A token is usually passed along the ring from node to node and if the token is meant for a given node then it releases the information to the network


  • uses a shorter cable hence economical
  • it easy to install
  • it provides high speed unidirectional communication


  • if any computer breaks down, communication is hampered in the ring

Network Topologies Link