Introduction to Ring Topology:
One solution to the problem of the data collision found in bus topology is the ring topology structure. Ring topology ideally eliminates data collision and provides a more effective means to support larger networks.
Related: Types of Network Topology
Unlike bus topology, ring topology does not rely on a main cable to transmit information. This makes it better suited for large networks, and its unique design affords it certain benefits.
Importantly, it must be noted that there are two types of ring topology: ring topology and double-ring topology. While these two are very similar and share the same basic structure and function, ring topology only allows for the unidirectional travel of information across the network while a double ring allows for the travel of information in two directions over the network.
So, how is ring topology set up? In order to have a ring topology, nodes are arranged in a large ring. The size of the ring depends on the number of nodes in the network. Let’s take an example to get a better picture of what this topology really is and how it works. For our example, let’s think of a small school that has about one hundred computers. Obviously, this many computers can lead to a moderate amount of data collision under bus topology, so having ring topology seems to be a better layout.
In ring topology, these nodes (in our case, let’s just say computers) would be connected to the network in a ring. By this, we mean that the computers would not be connected by any main cable or central hub across the network. Instead, the computers would all be linked to one another, with each computer having two connections.
To get a better image of this, imagine how it would look if you and your friends all held hands to form a circle. This is very similar to ring topology. In this format, if you want to pass any information along, you can only tell the friend to your left. This friend, in turn, tells the person to their left, who then turns to their left to tell their friend.
This means that if you want to tell something to your friend standing to your right, the information must pass through every other person in the ring first. Because this can be slow, double ring topology was developed. In this set up, you can talk to the person to your left and to your right, allowing for information to be spread more quickly across the network.
As you can see from this example, simple ring topology has two major drawbacks: it can lead to the slow transmission of data if the node with which you are trying to communicate is far from your node, and it can also be affected by issues with nodes along the way.
This means that if one of the nodes along the way is broken, information cannot pass along. Additionally, because the information that you are trying to send is sent through every node along the way, ring topology isn’t as secure as other layouts.