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What is a Ring Topology?

A ring topology is a network architecture in which devices are connected in a ring structure and send information to each other based on their ring node's neighbouring node. As compared to the bus topology, a ring topology is highly efficient and can handle heavier loads. Because packets may only travel in one direction, most Ring Topologies are referred to as one-way unidirectional ring networks. Generally, Bidirectional and Unidirectional are the two types of ring topology. On the basis of devices that are being linked together to form a network, several kinds of ring topology setups work differently.

What is a Ring Topology?

This topology may be used in LANs or WANs. Depending on the network card used in each computer, an RJ-45 network cable or a coaxial cable is used to connect computers in a ring topology. The advantages of a ring topology include, it does not need a central hub in order to function. Installation and troubleshooting with this type of network are also very easy as compared to other networks.

A ring architecture has the drawback that if one node fails to send data, the entire network suffers. Therefore, some of the ring topology setups use a dual-ring structure to resolve this problem. In a dual-ring structure, the information is transmitted into clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. There is a backup way of transmission in case one transmission fails; these systems are known as redundant ring structures.

How Does Ring Topology work?

Below are given some steps that help you to understand how data is transmitted between nodes in a ring network.

  • Empty tokens are freely distributed over the ring. The speed of the ring goes from 16 Mbps to 100 Mbps.
  • To store data frames and transmit, the empty token contains placeholders and also holds sender or receiver addresses.
  • When a sending node has to send a message, it acquires a token and fills it with data, obtaining the receiving node's MAC address and its own ID in the token. In the ring, a filled token is sent to the next node.
  • The token is received by the next node and determines if it is meant for transmitting. Then, the data is copied into the node from the frame and set the token to zero, and transferred to the next node.
  • Until the data reaches the right destination, the above step is repeated.
  • When the sender receives the token, it will initialize the message if it finds the receiver has read the data.
  • It is beneficial in transmitting data; the token is to be consumed and recirculated any by any of the nodes.
  • If contact is lost, a node is idle, and the network supports a dual ring, data is delivered in the opposite direction to the destination.

How is ring topology formed?

In a ring topology, each device is connected to two other devices, and several of these structures are linked together to form a circular route known as a ring network. To reach the data destination, the In-Ring Topology uses a one-to-one procedure; data is communicated from one device to the next, and the process is repeated until the data reaches the target. Sending node transmitted data to the destination node with the help of tokens. Therefore, it is called Token Ring Topology. It is also known as Active Topology since it requires all nodes to be active in order for transmission to continue.

There may be modifications to data loss; when there are a lot of nodes, the tokens will have to leap through a lot of them to get to the target node. Repeaters are added on a regular basis to minimize data loss and to improve signal strength.

Unidirectional Ring: A half-duplex network is one that permits data to be transferred in just one direction, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Generally, most ring networks use the process to flow data in only one direction.

Bidirectional Ring: It is also known as a dual-ring network, and it may be used to turn a unidirectional network into a bidirectional network by using two links between two network nodes. While sending data in one direction, if any of the intermediate nodes get fail down, dual rings offer alternate paths for any node to reach its destination.

Why we Use Ring Topology?

There are some factors to choose the network topology, which are as follows:

  • Budget allocation.
  • The complexity of the IT landscape.
  • Organization's operational model.
  • Expected End-user performance level.

Increased data economy, excellent network performance, and network operations that are easy to administer are all factors in choosing the correct topology. As compared to another topology, there are five reasons to select Ring topology:

  1. In-ring topology, the possibility of data collision is minimal as it allows data flow in a unidirectional way.
  2. Any network control server is not required in the ring topology to manage data transmission.
  3. In this type of network, data can be sent at a faster rate.
  4. This type of network is affordable than others as its operation cost is economical.
  5. In a ring topology network, any new nodes may be added without difficulty, and topology administration is simplified.

Applications of Ring Topology?

  • This topology may be used in LANs as well as WANs.
  • In the telecommunications industry, ring topology is commonly utilised in SONET (Synchronous optical network) fibre networks.
  • Many organizations are also used the ring network as a backup system for their existing network.
  • If the connection is lost with a node, it also makes use of the bidirectional capability to route traffic in another direction.
  • Due to its use by few commercial establishments and lower cost of operation, it is also used in educational institutions.

History of Ring Topology

Early, the ring topology was most widely used in small buildings like offices, schools. However, in modern times, this type of technology is rarely used. For stability, performance, or support, it has been switched to other types of network.

Advantages of Ring Topology

  • It reduces the chance of packet collisions as all data flows in one direction in this topology.
  • Any network server is not required in the ring topology to network connectivity between each workstation.
  • It has the ability to send data at high speeds.
  • In this network, if you add additional workstations, they do not impact the performance of the network.
  • It offers a Reliable network, Futuristic technology, Low Capital investment, and Seamless connectivity with multiple service providers.
  • As compared to the bus topology, it has better performance under heavy network load.

Disadvantages of Ring Topology

  • It is much slower as compared to a star topology, as all data in ring topology must pass through each workstation on the network that making it slower.
  • If one workstation gets failure, the entire network will be impacted.
  • It is more expensive as compared to Ethernet cards, hubs, or switches because, in this network, the hardware is required to connect each workstation to the network.

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