Today, we all live in a highly technologically advanced world that is highly connected – albeit virtually. And the critical factor that contributes to or plays a vital role in this entire play is networking. From the organizational to the regional to the international levels, a well-knitted network has been established to facilitate our day-to-day activities.

However, in order to build a network that is fast, reliable, and efficient, some guidelines or approaches must be followed. Fortunately, we have certain types of network layout or configuration known as topology that help us decide how each node or device on the network will be connected to each other.

In addition to layout planning, network topology also helps us understand how data will travel or be transferred in a network.

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Moreover, there are various types of network topology, such as bus topology, ring topology, mesh topology, star topology, flooding topology, and hybrid topology, to name a few. Choosing the best network layout or topology from among these is influenced by a number of factors, including,

  • Available hardware resources
  • Budget
  • Application invocation patterns
  • Ease of implementation
  • Network size
  • Administrative efforts
  • Reliability
  • Scalability

However, the four most common topologies are Ring topology, Star topology, Bus topology, and Hybrid Topology. In this blog, we will shed light on hybrid network topology to understand its advantages and examples. Let's start with the basics: what is hybrid topology?

Hybrid topology: a definition

As the term suggests, hybrid topology is a type of network topology in which two or more different topologies are integrated or combined to lay out a network. In layman's terms, hybrid topology is the combination of two or more networks. The network type could be Star, Ring, Bus, or Mesh.

However, in most cases, only the Star and Ring topologies are used to create a Hybrid network. The primary advantage or factor that contributes to its popularity is that hybrid topology is simple to maintain and can be easily scaled up or scaled down as needed.

Let's look at some examples of hybrid topology to understand this concept better.

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Examples of Hybrid Topologies

The following are some of the most common hybrid topologies. Let's take a look at each of them one by one to understand their layout/configuration.

A. Star-bus Hybrid Topology

The Star-bus topology is one of the most common network topologies used for both commercial and residential purposes. In this topology, hubs for different departments or workgroups are connected together via a single network.

Each computer or node is linked to the central hub using a point-to-point connection. The following are some of the principal advantages of the star-bus network topology:

  • In the event of a failure, only the component connected to that cable is affected, not the entire network.
  • The faulty component or cable can be easily replaced without disrupting the network's other nodes.
  • The star bus hybrid topology provides significantly better performance even in high traffic.
  • New components can be easily added or removed without affecting the entire network.
  • The network can be easily modified to meet the users' needs as and when they arise.

Overall, the star bus hybrid topology is a reliable and scalable network configuration that you should consider when deciding on the best network topology.

B. Star-ring Hybrid Topology

The Star-ring network topology comprises two or more star topologies linked together by a centralized hub. In this network configuration, the computers or nodes are typically connected to a central hub in a star network.

However, these nodes or components are also linked in the form of a ring network. This means that if a single component fails or malfunctions, the rest of the network will not be affected and will continue to function normally. The following are some of the advantages of the Star-ring hybrid topology:

  • Compared to the star or bus topologies, this topology allows or accommodates more network traffic between segments.
  • As with star-bus topology, new components can be easily added or removed without affecting the entire network.
  • You can easily modify the network by adding or removing new components as needed.
  • If any of the components fail, they can be easily replaced without affecting the network's performance.

In a nutshell, star-ring network topology, like star-bus network topology, is a good option to consider when planning network layout.

C. Star-bus-ring topology

The third hybrid topology example is the combination of star-bus-ring topologies. In this network configuration, all three topologies are connected together via a single network. The hub is either placed in the star network, the ring network, or both.

The failure of any node in the star or ring topology has no effect on the entire network. However, the failure of any component in a bus topology may have an impact on the performance of the other components linked in the bus topology. For this reason, hubs are rarely added to the bus topology in this hybrid network type.

Some of the major characteristics of star-bus-ring topology are as follows:

  • Failure of any components or nodes within the star or ring topology has no effect on the overall network's operation.
  • Adding or removing components in a star topology is easier but more difficult in a bus or ring topology.
  • If the cable connected to the hub is linked via the bus topology network, the failure of any component in the bus topology network may have an impact on the entire network.

As can be seen, the star-bus-ring hybrid topology has fewer advantages than the star-ring or star-bus topologies. For this reason, it should only be used when absolutely necessary.

Also Read: 3 essential steps for a successful network transformation

Key advantages of Hybrid Topology

As is evident by now, hybrid topology is a popular network architecture that offers numerous advantages. Some of the major advantages of hybrid topology are as follows:

1. Since this topology combines two or more topologies, the advantages multiply.

2. Because there are more than two network architectures in a hybrid topology, it is easier to add or remove components.

3. Hybrid topology also ensures reliable connectivity with predictable performance and SLA guarantees (Service Level Agreement).

4. Since the failure of a single component does not cause the entire network to fail, hybrid topology is considered a highly secure network architecture.

5. Compared to other topologies such as ring or bus, hybrid topology is also more flexible, scalable, and secure.

6. The ability to manage high traffic volumes is a significant advantage that makes hybrid topology a preferred network architecture.

7. Compared to other topologies such as ring or tree, hybrid topology makes error detection and troubleshooting much easier.

8. When the organization spans a large geographical area, hybrid topology is a better option.

These are some of the principal advantages of using hybrid topology over others. However, before making a final decision, make sure you consider all of the factors listed in the introduction.


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