Network Topology Network Architecture Computer Science Essay

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Sometimes called network architecture, can be defined as the way devices, stations or end points are physically organized in a communication network. There are basically two classes of network topologies, namely;

Physical topology

Logical topology

Physical topology can be said to show how the devices or systems are actually connected. Logical topology states the pattern of systems communication within the physical topology.

There are different types of physical topology, namely;

Bus topology

Star topology

Ring topology

Mesh topology


A general medium, known as the backbone is used to transmit data throughout the network. All the systems or devices on the network are connected to this backbone. The back bone, has two points of termination. Data sent on the network are received by all the devices on the network but only the system the data is meant for accepts it, while the other systems neglect it. The bus network can only carry a certain number of systems or devices and if this number is exceeded, the network is likely to encounter problems.

Illustration of bus topology


Installation is cheap.

Ideal for small businesses.

Installation is easy.


It is difficult to diagnose faults in the network.

If the backbone goes bad, the whole network dies.

Can accommodate only a certain number of devices.


In this topology, a central device is used to connect all the devices or computers in the network. This device can is known as a HUB, sometimes, switches and routers are used. Shielded or unshielded twisted pair cables are used to connect the devices or computers to the hub. Every transmission in the network goes through the hub, the hub can also boost signals in the network. Offices, company buildings and even in homes can use star topology.


illustration of star topology.


It’s installation is easy

Adding more computers to the network is easy.

One faulty device or computer cannot disrupt the network.

Diagnosing faults is easy.


If the central device gets faulty, the whole network breaks down


In this topology, devices on the network are connected in a circular manner. Data moves along the ring in a single direction either clockwise or counter clockwise. A receiver and transmitter are put in each computer for sending and receive signals.



Installation is easy.

Adding more systems is easy.




These are regarded as the fastest and most powerful computers ever to be made. They have the ability to perform billions to trillions of operations in one second; they are mainly employed when complex arithmetic data need to be processed. They are used for analyzing huge amounts of weather forecasting data, performing simulations, for example; they can be used by NASA to perform simulations on mars exploration. These computers are very costly.


They are used in meteorology for analyzing huge amounts of weather forecasting data.

They are used for performing simulations, in automobile industries, space agencies etc.


Sometimes called big iron, a mainframe is a powerful computer which has a very large storage and processing ability. They are basically used by large organizations to handle the processing of large amount of data. Mainframes can execute millions of instructions in one second and have the ability of connecting many users at a time as well as act as network servers. Information stored on a mainframe can be viewed using a micro computer.


Processing large amount of data.


These computers are mainly used as network servers for LAN. Mini computers are commonly used by small scale businesses that do not need the work power of a mainframe computer. The network servers mini computers function as are usually used in the storage of data and software utilized by the different computers on the network. Minicomputers can run different programs at once and allow different users access it at once. More powerful mini computers are called super minis


Used by small scale organizations.

Work as network server.


They are smaller than minicomputers and mainframe computers in size. A microcomputer is equipped with a micro processor which serves as a as the central processing unit (CPU). They also have a kind of memory called RAM which stores data temporarily and also storage device called HARD DISK. These computers have monitors, keyboards, mouse and some peripheral devices like printer, scanner etc basically for input and output purposes. Only one user can work on a microcomputer at a time.


Business purposes for accessing customer, sales and transaction information.

School and homes for both entertainment and educational purposes.

Keeping medical records in hospitals.


These computers are light and portable, and can work even without being plugged to a power source: this is because they can be powered by a special D.C battery. Laptop computers use a kind of technology called the flat-panel technology. These days, laptop computers are as powerful as personal computers, their memory, storage capacity, CPUs and drives are similar to those of personal computers. Due to their design, they are far more expensive than desktop computers.


For use in areas where the use of desktop is impossible.

Personal entertainment and educational purposes.

Suitable for small company.


Concept is archaic.

Faulty cable means network breakdown.

Hard to diagnose problems.

Unsuitable for large networks.