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Advantages and Disadvantages of Ring Topology

Ring Topology

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ring Topology

In the ring topology, the orientation of the nodes resembles a ring. The devices in this topology are connected in a circular structure and transmit the information to the other nodes based on the neighbouring nodes in the network.

Compared to the bus topology, which has a linear structure, the ring topology is more efficient and enclosed in a circle. This topology can manage heavier loads. In this topology, the data can be transmitted in a single direction; the transfer is unidirectional. Therefore, the ring topology is a one-way network or unidirectional ring topology.

The user can add repeaters in the ring topology when there are many nodes connected in the topology. This is done to ensure minimal data loss when transmitted from one node to another. All the nodes and devices that form the ring of the topology are collectively known as the hoop network. In this network, the data packets are transmitted from one node to another until the data packet is delivered to the final destination.

The user can make the ring topology bidirectional by using two separate connections for each node in the network. This arrangement of nodes with two wires linking each node is known as the Dual Ring Topology. There can be different types of ring topology depending on the nodes used in the network. The ring topology supports LAN and WAN depending on the network card used in the network node.

Features of Ring Topology

  • Ring topology is quite used for small and medium-sized businesses because of the features provided by this topology. Some of the features of the ring topology are as follows:
  • In this topology, the user can add hardware equipment known as repeaters to amplify the transmitting signal from the sender node to the transmitting node. The user can use multiple repeaters to improve data transmission.
  • The data can be transmitted only in one direction using a cable. If the user wants to use ring topology to transmit the data in both directions, then the user will have to connect each node in the network with two wires.
  • The data is transmitted through wires. The data is transferred sequentially. The transmission is performed bit by bit in a ring topology.
  • The topology improves communication link fidelity. This means if a single cable between the nodes breaks, the other link is used to communicate in the network.
  • In this topology, each node can also act as the repeater. This means the incoming signal is enhanced every time it crosses a node, which means the transmission quality is maintained throughout the network. Even if the signal travels through multiple nodes before reaching the destination node in the network. The signal strength is maintained at each point of transmission.
  • This topology has an inbuilt acknowledgement device. The acknowledgement is released when the communication is completed, that is, the data packet from the sender reaches the destination node.
  • Since this network uses tokens to send the data, this method ensures there is no possibility of data collision or cross-communication between the network nodes. When a network sends a token, that particular node has complete control over the network, and only the two devices, sender and receiver, are allowed to communicate simultaneously.

Advantages of Ring Topology

1. Less possibility of Data Collision

The data is transmitted in a single direction in the ring topology using a single cable.

The advantage of transmitting the data in a particular direction is that there is very less chance that the user may experience data collisions during the transmission. Though other topologies may allow the user to transmit the data in both directions, this may also increase the possibility of data collision. If there is data collision in the network, then there is a high risk that some or maybe even complete data stored in the data packet may be lost. So it is necessary to avoid collisions as much as possible.

2. Easy to Manage or Add the Workstation

Ring topology is simpler than other network topologies, such as mesh or tree topology, which are relatively more complex. The simplicity of the topology is an important factor to consider when arranging several nodes in the network.

The simpler arrangement of the nodes makes it easier to perform maintenance in the network. If any component in the computer network malfunctions, it is easier to identify the component in the ring topology as it has minimal hardware equipment. The networks only require nodes and cables used to link the nodes. If there are several nodes in the network, then the user can add repeaters to the network.

The repeaters are used to amplify the incoming signal in the network. In this topology, it is easy to add new devices and workstations. The ring topologies support unlimited growth, which means the user can always add new nodes in the network according to their requirements. Thus, the user can add new nodes and workstations in the network without affecting the current performance of the nodes.

3. Cheap and Easy installation

There is no requirement for additional equipment in the ring topology, and it requires minimal hardware equipment to establish the ring topology. The nodes are circularly connected with cables in this topology.

The cost of installing the nodes is relatively less in ring topology than installing complex network topologies that require additional components such as switches and hubs.

The wires can be directly connected to the ports of the nodes, making them easier to set up.

4. Token Passing

Another advantage of using ring topology is that they utilize the token to transmit the data in the network.

In similar terms, it can be described as the primary signal sent from the sender node to the receiving node that allows both nodes to establish communication by using the network. This method of establishing communication in the network is most useful when the user needs to transmit the data to other workstations in the network.

This method is more efficient in sharing the data than other methods used in different topologies.

5. High Speed of Data Transfer

Since the whole data is transmitted in a single direction using a wire, the data transmission speed within the network nodes is very high in a ring topology. The data is transmitted using cables and a method known as token passing which increases the efficiency of the data transfer.

6. Improved Performance

In a ring topology, the user can implement the token-passing mechanism. In this mechanism, when a node transmits the data packet in the network, the token ring switch reads the destination from the data packets and forwards the data to the receiving node.

As in ring topology, the user can implement token passing; the performance of ring topology is better than the bus topology when the data traffic is increased.

7. Highly Organized Network

Tokens are required to transmit the data in the network. It is a highly organized network. The sender must send a token first to transmit the data in the network. Since each node in the network is provided with a token, each node can transmit the data in the network.

Disadvantages of Ring topology

1. Unidirectional Transmission

The data can only be transmitted in one direction using the ring topology, meaning the data packet cannot take the shortest path possible to transmit the data. The data packet must travel through all the nodes between the sender and receiver.

2. Complete Network Failure

Interconnecting nodes form the whole network. The whole network is affected if a single node malfunctions in the network. There is also the possibility of complete network failure even when a single node fails.

3. Not suitable for Large Networks

When a very large number of nodes are added to the network, it may degrade the entire network's performance. It has limited bandwidth; moreover, more nodes in the network means that the data will have to travel through more nodes to reach the destination, which will decrease the efficiency of the network due to the increased hop count.

4. Slower Than Bus Topology

Since the nodes are required to send tokens before transmitting the data in the network, the performance is relatively low in ring topology than in the bus topology when the traffic is low. The nodes must wait until the control is provided to the sender node for communication.

5. Requires All systems to be Turned On

The communication is only feasible when all the nodes in the network are turned on. If any node between the transmission is turned off, the data packet will not be forwarded further. This consumes a lot of energy.

6. The access Speed of the Ring Is Slower than Bus Topology

Though ring topology may perform better than bus topology when the load is high, under normal conditions, its performance is slower than the bus topology. The ring topology uses sequential access, which leads to a slower access speed than the bus topology. Moreover, there are no terminators in the ring topology, while there are two terminating nodes in the bus topology.

7. Expensive architecture

Though the ring topology may be cheaper than the star topology, it is relatively more expensive than other alternatives. The architecture cost is quite high in the ring topology.

8. Adding or Removing Nodes During Transmission in Network

It is difficult to add or remove nodes while transmitting the data in the network. Since the data in the ring topology is passed through all the nodes between the sending and receiving nodes. If any intermediary nodes are not working, the transmission is not completed. Therefore it is difficult to add or remove nodes when the network is being used, as that may create problems in the network activity.

9. Entirely Dependent on a Single Cable

The entire network depends on the single cable that is used to connect the nodes in the network. If the cable is damaged, then the entire network fails. Since there is no other cable, communication will be instantly disrupted. The user will be required to fix the cable before using the network.

10. Difficult to find the Issue

The data is passed through all the nodes in the network, making it difficult to find the node that malfunctioned. Therefore, it is difficult to troubleshoot the ring network.

11. Not Scalable

As the number of nodes increases in the ring topology, the nodes that the data will be sent during the transmission increase, which hugely impacts the performance of the network. Therefore this is not an ideal option when using many nodes. Therefore, ring topology is not scalable.

Since there are many different topologies available and we can't deny the benefits and features offered by the ring topology, but it is not always the best physical topology available.

The ring topology can be implemented in small and medium-sized organizations, but for large organizations, the advantages of the ring topology are outweighed by its disadvantages. These organizations may necessarily require additional equipment, such as hubs or switches, to efficiently transmit the data in the network.

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