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How are networks categorized?

Categorization of the networks is largely dependent on their 3 major properties which are:
– Topology
– Protocol and
– Architecture

1. Categorization based up on Topology:

Topology gives the specification regarding the geometrical arrangement up on which the network is based. A number of topologies have been defined as discussed below:
– Point – to – point: Such networks establish the simplest permanent link between any two points. For e.g., switched point – to – point topology used in telephony that appears to users as a point – to – point communication channel. Technologies such as packet switching and circuit switching allow such networks to be created and destroyed whenever required. This is the true representation of the basic telephony mode.

– Bus: In this type every node has got a connection to common cable via a bus cable connection. The source transmits the data that travels through all the connected systems until received by the desired recipient. If no match is found the data is simply neglected by the system.

– Star: The main hub is connected to each system on the network via a point – to – point connection. Thus every node is connected to the central hub.

– Ring: Connections are done in a circular fashion and the data follows one direction and each device doubles up as a repeater.

– Mesh: This topology is more like a mesh and has two types namely fully connected and partially connected.

– Tree: Star and bus topology when combined result in this topology. Cable TV technology is a good example.

– Hybrid: Combination of other topologies in such a way that the resulting topology is not a standard one.
– Daisy chain

2. Categorization based up on protocol:

– The rules and signals used for communication in a network are specified by a protocol.
– Most of the networks such as local area network (LAN) use the Ethernet in office and home networking.
– This protocol uses several signaling and wiring variants operating on OSI physical layers.
– It works by dividing the data stream in to small units (usually called frames) through systems that support Ethernet technology.
– These frames have 3 main components namely the source address, the destination address and the error checking data.
– The error checking enables the correction of the data that is transmitted.
– The range of the Ethernet lies up to the data link layer and including it.
– Another such network is the token ring protocol developed by IBM.

3. Categorization based up on architecture:

– Networks are classified in to 2 types based on this category namely the client/ server network and peer – to – peer network.
– In the former kind, an NT domain controller is deployed to which all the computers are logged on.
– This server is capable of providing various services including internet, file sharing, e – mail, printer access and so on.
– This network supports the decision making process quite well and this is one of the major reasons why it is now being adopted by most of the organizations.
– It holds well for bridging the gap between the user expectations and information systems.
– The latter kind does not involve any server rather the systems on network are simply connected to each other in a group and files are shared.
– It is usually deployed in home networks and holds practical for a dozen or lesser number of systems.
– Every system on the network has the same compatible program installed in them that facilitate the access and sharing of files that are present in the same network.
– They are suitable for transmitting any media that is in digital formal such as audio and video.
– The architecture is in a distributed fashion so that the workload divides evenly between all the peers.
– In such networks all peers possess equal privileges.
– These networks are usually set up in corporations and organizations where security is very much required.

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