A mesh topology typically refers to a Wide Area Network where there are multiple paths connecting multiple sites. A router is used to search multiple paths and determine the best path for the data. Routes are determined by least cost, time of day and performance. A three or four site mesh network is relatively easy to create, whereas it is impractical to set up a mesh network of 100 sites or nodes. Mesh networks are used in Wide Area Networks (WANs) where reliability is important and the number of sites being connected together is fairly small. A mesh network is costly to reconfigure, replace and administer. A mesh is best suited for situations where it will not need to be moved or expanded beyond five sites or nodes. If one site fails, an entire application can fail. (Bloom, 1998). Bus
An Ethernet cable usually connects Bus topologies. A bus topology connects your workstations along an open cable length or backbone. If a problem occurs on the backbone, the entire network will go down. Troubleshooting can be difficult, and because data is sent one packet at a time, adding users to the network will slow it down. (Bloom, 1998). Bus topologies are relatively easy to install. Star
Ethernet cables or Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables usually connects Star topologies. The star is configured around a central wiring device or switching element, usually an intelligent hub. The hub interprets and routes electrical signals using a high-speed backplane or bus. Each device (workstation, server, etc.) is connected singly to a port on the hub. (Bloom, 1998). Star topologies can be expensive to install, however, quickly identified nodes on the network through the switches, or hubs, will drastically decrease downtime. Ring
Each workstation on the network is connected to two other workstations, forming a loop or ring. Conflicts in the transmission of data are avoided with token ring technology, which grants messages a "token" or...