NAME : WAN NOR ATHIRAH BINTI WAN ADNAN
MATRIC NO : 2015429112
GROUP : HS 241 6A
TEST NO : 2 DATE: 9th APRIL 2018
TITLE: DISCUSS THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF ALL THE TOPOLOGIES
OF THE LOCAL AREA NETWORK (LAN)
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First and for all, a network stands for the communication devices, media and software which required to connect two or more computers systems in order to share the resources such as printers and scanners, exchange files or to expedite the communication. Those computers can be linked together either through cables, telephone lines, radio waves, and satellites or infrared light beams. (“What is a Network,” n.d.). However, the computers must be positioned in the same area that the network covers.
There are two common types of networks which are usually used: 1) Local Area Network (LAN) that spans a relatively small geographic distance and 2) Wide Area Network (WAN) that spans a large geographic distance. The discussion below will explain more detailed on the Local Area Network (LAN) and also the strengths and weaknesses of all the topologies under the LAN.
LOCAL AREA NETWORK (LAN)
LAN is a computer network that confined relatively small area for examples home, office, library, school and airport and it may be either wired or wireless. It is set up by a higher data transfer rate and smaller physical area of coverage. The computers which link to this network are classified as servers or workstations. (“What is a Network,” n.d.).
There are varieties of topologies set under the LAN and every one of them has their strengths and weaknesses. The topology meanwhile is defined as the layout or arrangement of devices on a network (physical topology) and the way information is passed between the computers (logical topology). (“LAN Network,” n.d.).
The major topologies of LAN include: 1) Bus topology, 2) Ring topology, 3) Star topology, 4) Mesh topology, 5) Hybrid topology and 6) Tree topology. (“LAN Topologies,” 2010). The terminal for each network is arranged in manner recommended by their names as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Different types of LAN topologies
TYPES OF LAN TOPOLOGIES
1) Bus Topology
Bus topology is among the simplest and most widely used design which consists of one continuous length of cabling or trunk and a terminator at each end as displayed in Figure 2. (“LAN Topologies,” 2010). The data communications message travels along the bus in both directions until it is picked up by a workstation or server. If the message unrecognized or missed, it will reach the end of the cabling and will disseminate at the terminator.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Bus Topology
As for the strengths, bus topology is best suited for small networks of two to five computers with all nodes (computers) have equal access to the trunk. It is also easily installed due to one cable segment of trunk; therefore, the amount of transmission media needed can be minimized. Furthermore, the cost is very less because this topology only requires less cable length compared to other topologies. (“Advantages and Disadvantages,” n.d.).
For the weaknesses, if there is a break in the main cable, the entire network shuts down as it is heavily dependent on the central bus. (“LAN Network,” n.d.). If the main cable is damaged in its path, then it will cause the network to stop working or at the very least, cause a big communication problems between the workstations in which those problems seem difficult to identify and to troubleshoot. As the cable length is limited, the numbers of network nodes that can be connected also limited and when the number of devices connected increases, the efficiency of the network will decreases. The other weakness is it possesses a security risk as every devices connected to the network can sees all the data being transmitted. (“Advantages and Disadvantages,” n.d.).
2) Ring Topology
The physical ring topology is a circular loop of point to point links with no terminated end. The messages travel around the loop in one direction and pass through every computer, which acts as a repeater to boost the messages and send it to the next computer. Each device has its own address and if the address does not match, the device will simply regenerates the message and sends it on its way. However, if the address is match, the device or node will accepts the message and sends a reply to the primary sender. (“LAN Topologies,” 2010).
Strength and Weaknesses of Ring Topology
Ring topology is easy to troubleshoot, to identify faults, to add or to remove network nodes because the process involves only two connections and each device incorporates a repeater. The data transmission is at high speed with each node has the opportunity to transmit it making ring topology as an organized network and also central server is not needed to manage connectivity between the nodes.
Ring topology also has its limitation. The information send from one node to another node has to pass through all the intermediate nodes, which makes the transmission becomes slower and suddenly decrease if the number of nodes increases. Also, ring topology is difficult to install and reconfigure as it required more media and any failure, movement or changes occur in any nodes can affect the entire network. (“Advantages and Disadvantages,” n.d.).
3) Star Topology
The star topology uses a central controlling hub with dedicated legs pointing in all directions like a star as shown in Figure 4. Each node connected directly to the central network hub which controls all functions of the network including receiving and transmitting signals. The data is passes through the hub before continuing to its destination. (“LAN Topologies,” 2010).
Strength and Weaknesses of Star Topology
The advantages of this topology are any failure in one computer will not affect other computers as only the failed computer unable to send or receive data. The remaining of the network still performs and functions normally. Moreover, it possesses least security risk as their configuration and data do not need to pass through many nodes. It is also easy to fault and troubleshoots the network. However, failure in central hub leads to failure of the entire network. The set up cost is also expensive compared to bus topology due of the cost of the hub and more cable needed. (“Topology,” n.d.). The nodes to the network can be added, however, it depends on the capacity of the central hub can hold. (“Advantages and Disadvantages,” n.d.).
4) Mesh Topology
The mesh topology uses a dedicated link between every device on the network. (“LAN Topologies,” 2010). Each computer is connected to every other computer by a separate cable thus providing redundant paths through the network.
Strength and Weaknesses of Mesh Topology
The mesh topology has its backup capabilities by providing multiple paths through the network in order to transmit information and also heavy traffic can be control. It is also easy to troubleshoot due to each link is independent from all others. Based on the arrangement of the network nodes, it is possible to transfer the data from one node to another node at the same times. The failure in any nodes also will not affect the entire network as there is another alternate path for data transmission.
However, the set up and maintenance cost is expensive due to a lot of cabling is need. The redundancy also cannot be control and it is not very practical as excessive waste of transmission media happen. Moreover, the speed of communication becomes slower if the number of devices increase. (“Advantages and Disadvantages,” n.d.).?
5) Hybrid Topology
Hybrid topology combines two or more topologies in order to form a complete network. For example, a hybrid topology could be the combination of a star, ring and tree topologies that is commonly used. By combining some of the characteristics of the pure network topologies, a more useful result can be obtained. (“LAN Topologies,” 2010).
Strengths and Weaknesses of Hybrid Topology
The main advantage of hybrid topology is that two different topologies can be combined without disturbing the existing architecture of a network. The use
of this topology makes a network easily expandable. Unlikely, any breaks of the backbone line will shuts down the entire segments.
6) Tree Topology
Tree topology is also known as hierarchical topology which combines the characteristics of bus and star topologies. It consists of groups of star-configured computers connected to the bus backbone cable which allows for the expansion of an existing network and enables building such as schools to configure a network to meet their needs.
Strength and Weaknesses of Tree Topology
This topology is useful in cases where a star or bus cannot be implemented individually. It is most suited in networking multiple departments such as in university or corporation where each unit functions separately and is connected with the main node. The failures of one star segment also will not affect the remaining network and it can be expanded by the addition of secondary nodes depend on the capacity of central bus and cable type. However, any breaks of the backbone line (bus) will shuts down the entire segments. The maintenance and configuration is difficult owing to its size and complexity. The overall length of each segment is also restricted by the type of cable used. (“Advantages and Disadvantages,” n.d.).
As for conclusion, different types of topologies of the LAN had their own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, in order to choose the best topologies to be set up in your area, some considerations must be taken that include money, length of cable needed, future growth and types of cable. For example, bus topology may be the least expensive way to install a network due to shorter lengths of cable used, so concentrators are unnecessary but it have limited number of devices that can be linked. Expanding a network is easily done if star topology is set up.
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