The physical topology of a network is the actual geometric layout of workstations. There are several common physical topologies, as described below and as shown in the illustration.
In the bus network topology, every woekstation is connected to a main cable called the bus. Therefore, in effect, each workstation is directly connected to every other workstation in the network.
2) Star Network
In the star network topology, there is a central computer or server to which all the workstations are directly connected. Every workstation is indirectly connected to every other through the central computer.
3) Ring Network
In the ring network topology, the workstations are connected in a closed loop configuration. Adjacent pairs of workstations are directly connected. Other pairs of workstations are indirectly connected, the data passing through one or more intermediate nodes.
4) Token Ring Network
If a token ring protocol is used in a star or ring topology, the signal travels in only one direction, carried by a so-called token from node to node.
5) Mesh Network
The mesh network topology employs either of two schemes, called full mesh and partial mesh. In the full mesh topology, each workstation is connected directly to each of the others. In the partial mesh topology, some workstations are connected to all the others, and some are connected only to those other nodes with which they exchange the most data.
6) Tree Network
The tree network topology uses two or more star networks connected together. The central computers of the star networks are connected to a main bus. Thus, a tree network is a bus network of star networks.