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What is Tree Topology?

A tree topology is a sort of structure in which each node is related to the others in a hierarchy. In a topological hierarchy, there are at least three distinct levels. Sometimes it is also called hierarchical topology as in this topology, all elements are arranged like the branches of a tree. It is a lot like the star and bus topologies. Tree topologies are commonly used to arrange data in databases and workstations in corporate networks. In a tree topology, any two linked nodes can only have one mutual connection, hence there can only be one link between them.

What is Tree Topology?

There are several ways to define tree topology; such are as follows:

  • A tree topology combines several star topologies by connecting several components to the centre node.
  • It may define by experts as tree topology is a combination of bus and star topologies in which all nodes are attached with the help of a single central node.
  • Every node in this architecture is connected one to one in a hierarchy level, with each neighbouring node on its lower level. Each secondary node has a point-to-point link to the parent node, and all secondary nodes under its jurisdiction have point-to-point connections to the tertiary nodes. When examined in a visual sense, these systems resemble a tree structure.

The disadvantage of a tree topology is that if the primary node is damaged, the entire system can be crippled, because all other nodes are connected to the primary node.

Tree Topology in Computer Network

In computer networks, a tree topology is sometimes known as a star bus topology because it combines features of both star and bus topologies to create a tree-like structure. In this topology, every branch contains Star Network, and its main structure is designed in the form of a bus backbone cable. Therefore, the primary bus is attached to one or more buses and switches, which further connects to one or more Network Devices and Network Nodes. It is a very flexible computer networking method that allows you to add Network Devices to this network by simply expanding the Star Network at each branch of a tree. However, you may need to add or remove devices at certain times.

Tree Topology Examples in Real Life

If you have small sub-departments or departments and, this topology is very useful. Similarly, it can be the best choice for you if you have a multi-floor team placement. If you try to utilise the basic Star Network plan, you may run into a lot of issues since it is not always reasonable; in certain cases, it can be more expensive. Similarly, you will be unable to acquire a basic bus network as it needs the installation of bus backbone cables. It will also necessitate a large number of punctures in Backbone and Sub Backbone Cables. It is, however, quite expensive. If you install more network nodes in a department or sub-department, you'll need to puncture backbone cables at various locations, which might reduce network performance.

Therefore, you will need to use a strong cable to connect floors. Furthermore, each departmental and sub-departmental network Nodes will connect to a single Hub, which will be located inside both departments. If you arrange it like this, it will be more affordable and effective. As compared to basic types of Network Topology, it is more reliable, fault-tolerant, and flexible. You can get many problems if you use a simple Star Network or Bus Network. Therefore, the use of the hybrid scheme is more beneficial for facilitating yourself.

Applications and Uses of Tree Topology

Although tree topology has no common applications to use, however, its use is totally dependent on users. You can get benefit from it as well as using it. Zigbee comes under the application of the Tree Topology network. But the fact is that Zigbee does not use Tree Topology. However, you can use it anywhere in terms of networking.

  • When you have a multi-story building and wish to establish clusters at each section of the network, you can utilise tree topology.
  • If you have departments and sub-departments, you can segregate the whole Tree Network with the help of several switches that makes the entire network easy to maintain and more manageable.

Features of Tree Topology

  • If you want to add more computers at a certain place in tree topology, you can do it by extending Star Networks connected to the main Backbone Cable.
  • If one of the computers on the network fails, it does not influence the operation of the entire computer network. As a result, it is more fault-tolerant and dependable.
  • Its network performance might be quite good due to the use of a Switch or Intelligent Hub.
  • Tree topology is really a good option for your small-sized LAN (Local Area Network).
  • Furthermore, it offers more security that can also be improved by using Intelligent Hub.

How Tree Topology Network Works?

The below image will help you to understand how Tree Topology works.

What is Tree Topology?

For example, if the server wants to establish a connection to Node I, it will digest or encapsulate the destination address and data. Then, it will transmit the signal to Backbone Cable after completing the encapsulation process. The encapsulated package will start to pass on both sides of branches of the Bus Backbone Network.

There are three types of Hub that can be used in the Three Topology Network, which are Intelligent Hub, Active Hub, and Passive Hub. They all contain their own working mechanism. We are explaining only the working process of an Intelligent Hub. Let's consider that all Hubs are Intelligent, which is Switch. The packet will first go to Switch S1, which will examine the packet's destination address after receiving it. It will automatically discard the package if the destination address does not match this portion.

Similarly, the encapsulated packet will reach Switch S2, which will check the destination address. If it finds the destination address does not match, it will send the package to Switch S3. Then, S3 will find the link that connects the destination address and forward the package to the specified destination.

Types of Tree Topology

Although the types of tree topology are not specialized, people should also know about these types. These types may help you in your networking career.

  1. Bus Tree Topology: It has a Backbone Cable that is in charge of communication across the Tree Network, and you link the PCs to central devices such as Hubs or Switches. Instead of connecting to each computer individually, the Bus Backbone links to central devices. Users can, however, connect gadgets directly to the Backbone Cable if they like.
  2. Cluster Tree Topology: In Cluster Tree Topology, the parent-child connection between nodes is the most important notion. The central device (Hub or Switch, for example) is simply the parent.
  3. Spanning Tree Topology: It is one of the widely used terminologies that connects all the nodes of a graph. The Minimal Spanning Tree (MST) is another term that is commonly used, which offers a way to connect all the graph edges. This type of topology contains many Backbone Cables for connecting several clusters available in the entire computer network.

Advantages of Tree Topology

There are numerous benefits of the tree topology, which are as follows:

  • It is more scalable and flexible as it does not require puncturing the main backbone cable to add devices, unlike the Bus Topology. Even if less space is available, you can easily add a new device to the hub or switch. You can create more space through Star Network.
  • If one or more nodes have failed in the network, they do not affect the entire network. And, the network can still continue to operate, even if a single Switch or Hub has been damaged.
  • A tree topology network can be managed and maintained easily.
  • In this topology, Node expansion is easy and fast.
  • It contains an easy process to detect an error.
  • Due to the utilization of Intelligent Hub/Switch, Tree Topology gives much greater performance than Bus Network.
  • In tree topology, the management and establishment are much like Star Network.
  • Additionally, it is much appropriate for small-sized organizations.

Disadvantages of Tree Topology

The tree topology has some disadvantages, which are as follows:

Dependent on the main bus cable

A tree topology depends upon a cable to transmit data to the whole network as the information is passed one to one node that creates weak areas. If one node has been damaged, it will impact the entire network, and the rest of the network will be inaccessible.

It becomes more difficult if the event occurs in the backbone cable. Furthermore, if a defect happens before the remainder of the tree topology's branches, the complete system will not function correctly. Even if all devices on the other side of the problem can still communicate with each other.

Maintaining the network can be a challenge

It might be tough to keep a network up and running when there are multiple nodes and trees. Once adequate scalability is achieved in tree topology, the network's size might begin to act against it. It consumes more time to maintain one-to-one node connections, manage the individual stars, and investigate faults. When only one backbone cable is utilised to deliver services and a large number of peripherals and terminals are in use, the network's speed might suffer.

Tree topologies must usually follow the 5-4-3 rule

Generally, it follows the 5-4-3 rule that occurs when the tree topology network is created with the help of the Ethernet protocol. This protocol needs that a transmitted signal must reach within a specific time every part of the network. A signal used to distribute data by every concentrator or repeater will add more time to the network. It means only a maximum of five segments can be available between any two nodes, which are connected with the help of four concentrators or repeaters. If the segments are made of coaxial cable, only three of the segments may be populated. This disadvantage does not occur where fiber backbones or fiberoptic cabling are present or to another type of network topology.

Scalability depends on the type of cable used

In tree topology, a cable type and length that is used to create the point-to-point connections may become disadvantage for network. If you create the system in the first place, you are naturally limited in each segment to use the cable length and type. Therefore, as compared to other topologies, this option is most difficult to configure and wire. If you want to system with limitless scalability, it will be more costly when pursuing this design.

Installation difficult

The installation of tree topology might be challenging since it uses star and bus configuration principles when designed with linear characteristics; hence, this choice produces the most complex installation procedure. When deciding what topology to use, the cost is a common factor. The initial investment in tree topology can be substantial, as the tree topology's cabling needs include bus and star topology requirements.

Security issues with Tree Topology

One of the biggest disadvantages of a tree topology is a security issue as all workstations connected in the network of tree topology can see the sent data along with the network. When all of the connections are up and running, they all have access to each other, making the system less secure. If any unauthorized person can enter the building and access the network, they can destroy the entire network within a few seconds.

Therefore, it can be more harmful to any business or other that uses tree topology. To protect their information, they must include workstation-based security protocols and other password protections to prevent information access. You can also prevent unauthorized access by applying physical security at the front door.

Some key factors of disadvantages of tree topology are also given below:

  • It is the combination of both Bus Topology and Star Topology. So, it is more costly as you need the equipment for both topologies to create a network.
  • If the terminator gets any problem, it can reflect the signal. Hence, you are required to take great care of the terminator at each point.
  • It is not suitable for huge enterprises.
  • It needs a large amount of Network Cable for creating a network between devices, which is difficult to manage and place.

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