What is a Ring Topology Network?

  • In a ring topology based network, each node of a network is connected to two other nodes, one on either side of it.
  • All computers in the network together form a ring.

The diagram below gives a sample ring topology based network

A ring topology based network

  • In ring topology,
    • Whenever a sender node sends a frame (unit of data), every node in the network gets a copy of that frame.
    • This is accomplished by each node passing on the frame to its neighbor node, irrespective of whether it is destined for the neighbor or not.
    • The frame is processed only by the destination node, based on the frame’s destination node address.
    • The frame travels once around the ring and when it reaches back to the sender, the sender node removes the frame from the ring.
  • In ring topology, if a node goes down, then communication is broken in the whole network, as a node going down breaks the continuity of the ring. Hence, ring networks are implemented in pairs, with one ring serving as the primary and another ring serving as a secondary backup ring that is used when the primary ring goes down.
  • Also, since each frame is passed to every station, collisions may occur if multiple end nodes transmit frames simultaneously. Hence a ring topology based network requires a collision resolution mechanism.
  • Token Ring, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) are example protocols  that use the ring topology.

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