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Hybrid Networking Topologies: Types, Uses & Examples

Instructor: Moses Weda
Physical design of a network requires proper planning which for certain cases requires multiple topologies being combined(hybrid topology) to address all organizational needs. This lesson explains hybrid network topologies, their examples and uses.

Hybrid Network Topologies

Hybrid topology is an interconnection of two or more basic network topologies, each of which contains its own nodes.

The resulting interconnection allows the nodes in a given basic topology to communicate with other nodes in the same basic topology as well as those in other basic topologies within the hybrid topology.

Advantages of a hybrid network includes increased flexibility as new basic topologies can easily be added or existing ones removed and increased fault tolerance.

Types of Hybrid Network Topologies

There are different types of hybrid network topologies depending on the basic topologies that makes up the hybrid and the adjoining topology that interconnects the basic topologies.

The following are some of the Hybrid Network Topologies:

Star-Wired Ring Network Topology

In a Star-Wired Ring hybrid topology, a set of Star topologies are connected by a Ring topology as the adjoining topology. Joining each star topology to the ring topology is a wired connection.

Figure 1 is a diagrammatic representation of the star-wired ring topology

Star-Wired Ring Topology

Figure 1: A Star-Wired Ring Network Topology

In Figure 1, individual nodes of a given Star topology like Star Topology 1 are interconnected by a central switch which in turn provide an external connection to other star topologies through a node A in the main ring topology.

Information from a given star topology reaching a connecting node in the main ring topology like A flows either in a bidirectional or unidirectional manner.

A bidirectional flow will ensure that a failure in one node of the main ring topology does not lead to the complete breakdown of information flow in the main ring topology.

Star-wired bus Network Topology

A Star-Wired Bus topology is made up of a set of Star topologies interconnected by a central Bus topology.

Joining each Star topology to the Bus topology is a wired connection.

Figure 2 is a diagrammatic representation of the star-wired bus topology

Star-Wired Bus Network Topology

Figure 2: A Star-Wired Bus Network Topology

In this setup, the main Bus topology provides a backbone connection that interconnects the individual Star topologies.

The backbone in this case is a wired connection.

Hierarchical Network Topology

Hierarchical Network topology is structured in different levels as a hierarchical tree. It is also referred to as Tree network topology.

Figure 3 shows a diagrammatic representation of Hierarchical network topology.

 Hierarchical Network Topology

Figure 3: A Tree Network Topology

Connection of the lower levels like level 2 to higher levels like level 1 is done through wired connection.

The top most level, level 0, contains the parent (root) node. The second level, level 1 contains the child nodes which in turn have child nodes in level 3. All the nodes in a given level have a higher parent node except for the node(s) at the top most level.

The nodes at the bottom most level are called leaf nodes as they are peripheral and are parent to no other node. At the basic level, a tree network topology is a collection of star network topologies arranged in different levels.

Each level including the top most can contain one or more nodes.

Uses of Hybrid Network Topologies

The decision to use the Hybrid network topology over a basic topology in a network is mostly based on the organizational needs to be addressed by the network envisioned. The following are some of the reasons that can make an organization pick on a hybrid as the preferred network topology:

Where there is need for Flexibility and Ease of network Growth

Network growth is when more network nodes are added to an existing network. A hybrid network easens addition of new nodes to the network as changes can be done at the basic network levels as well as on the main network.

For example, in a Campus set up, there could be different hostels each of which could be having its own network. The individual hostel networks have the liberty of adding new node to its network at any time without affecting the other hostels network. Additionally, new hostel networks can be added to the existing main network.

In case there is a user that needs to leave a hostel network, the other hostels network configuration is not affected.

Where there is need for Isolation of Individual Network

In certain cases, there is need for a distributed network administration. In this case there is an overall network administrator(admin) while the individual basic networks are administered locally. In the Campus network example, each hostel network can have its local admin who is able to manage addition of new nodes or removal of existing nodes. Each network can have its network policies and controls different from other networks.

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