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NTC 360 Week 4 Assignment.




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Network Differences – Short Answers
Paul Hartfield
June 28, 2010
Ricky Chow

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Network Differences – Short Answers
In computer networking, topology refers to the layout of connected devices (Mitchell,
2010). Different types of network topologies exist because each type has many strengths and
weaknesses. Topology types include; Bus, Ring, Star, Mesh and Token Ring. TCP/IP is a chosen
and popular protocol package today, also known as The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
Protocol. Almost every computer (laptop or workstation) connecting to the Internet whether or
not at home or at the office uses TCP/IP for data exchanges.
Bus Topology
The bus topology joins computers (nodes) to a single segment trunk and offers a single coax
cable (bus), which uses a shared communication medium for a LAN network. A signal is sent
from one end of the bus to the opposite end during transmission. The computers in a bus
topology take turns sending information because only one node can communicate at a time. A
terminator is required at each end of the connection to absorb the signal, otherwise it will reflect
back across the bus. The CSMA/MA (media access method) handles any collision that may occur
if two signals are placed on the wire simultaneously. The advantages of this type of topology is it
allows a relatively high rate of data transmission, simple and easy to implement and extend, does
not require widespread cabling, and failure of one station does not affect others. The
disadvantages are a bus requires a network to detect if two nodes transmit at the same time,
heavy traffic rates present issues, administration and troubleshooting is difficult, limited cabling
(length) and number of stations, a cable break can halt the entire network, performance slows as
computers are added.

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Ring Topology
A ring topology connects computers in a spherical type point-to-point connection with no
central server. Each computer (node) manages its own applications and shares resources over the
entire network. If one node ceases to operate, the other nodes on the ring will still maintain
contact with each other. This network transmits signals via a “token” from one station to the
next. If a station wishes to transmit that station grabs the token and attaches data and an address
to it sending it around the ring. The token will travel around the ring until it reaches its
destination address. The receiving computer will acknowledge receipt and send a message back
to the sender, and finally the token is released for use by another computer. The advantages of a
ring topology are all nodes have an equal chance of transmitting data; system growth has
minimal effect on performance. However, the ring has disadvantages too. If one computer fails
on the ring the entire network may go down, difficult to add or delete nodes to and from the ring,
and tokens may become lost or many tokens are generated.
Star Topology
A star topology requires more cabling to be networked than the bus topology. Unshielded
twisted pair (UTP) cable is common in a star network as well as RJ45 or Ethernet cables. A star
network uses a central connection point known as a hub or router. The advantages to a star
topology are failure only occurs at one computer and not the entire LAN. The Star topology is
easy to install and expand. Problems can be easy to detect and troubleshoot. However, the
disadvantages of a star network are if the hub or router fails, the entire network fails because of
hub dependency. In addition, if too many nodes exist or the cabling is too long network
performance may slow down. The star topology is a popular topology in home networking.

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Very useful material for studying!