Network devices are connected in different ways called “topology”. Topology refers to the physical layout of the network i.e. the locations of the computers and how the cable is run between them. To select the right topology for how the network will be used is very important. Each topology has its own strength and weaknesses. Lets have a look upon popular network topologies:
Star / hierarchical- Computers in a star topology are connected by cables to a hub. In this topology management of the network is made much easier (such as adding and removing devices), because of the central point. However because it is centralized more cable is required.
Mesh - A Mesh topology Provides each device with a point-to-point connection to every other device in the network. These are most commonly used in WAN's, which connect networks over telecommunication links. Mesh topologies use routers to determine the best path.
Ring - In a ring topology network computers are connected by a single loop of cable, the data signals travel around the loop in one direction, passing through each computer. Ring topology is an active topology because each computer repeats (boosts) the signal before passing it on to the next computer.
Wireless - A wireless network consists of wireless NICs and access points. NICs come in different models including PC Card, ISA, PCI, etc. Access points act as wireless hubs to link multiple wireless NICs into a single subnet. Access points also have at least one fixed Ethernet port to allow the wireless network to be bridged to a traditional wired Ethernet network, such as the organization’s network infrastructure. Wireless and wired devices can coexist on the same network.
Understanding basics of networking will help you to configure and share network printers.