What Is Used When Passing Data Along A Network Using A Ring Topology?


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Network topology is the circuit arrangement, or layout pattern, of the connections between the devices, or nodes, contained within the network.

Ring topology (RT) is a type of arrangement where each node is connected to two other nodes via a single signal path. It is a  closed, physical loop of node to node links.

Each node acts as a repeater and amplifies the signal it has received before passing it on to the next device. This allows minimal degration of signals, the main advantage of RT.

One example of RT is a Fibre Distributed Data Interface (FDDI). Commonly used for the connection of widely dispersed networks via high speed fibre, FDDIs are usually configured as both physical and logical loops. 

When covering large metropolitan areas, this is the most cost-effective way to lay out the cabling.

As the main disadvantage of RT is the fact that a malfunction of one device or a break in a single cable can bring down the whole network, extra measures have to be taken to ensure reliability.

This is achieved by using the most reliable equipment and additional, redundant circuits, which can be switched into the path if the need arises.

FDDI, for instance, uses a second set of cabling. Data is transferred clockwise on the main circuit, and anti-clockwise on the redundant ring.

A break of data flow in the main circuit results in the data being wrapped back onto the second, complimentary ring before the end of the path is reached. A path to each node is thus  maintained via this additional ring.

Ring topology thus uses devices which are capable of acting as repeaters and two sets of cabling. Although more cost-effective in the long run, the initial cost of installing RT is therefore higher than other layouts.

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