A bus topology consists of a single cable with the terminator at each end. All present nodes are connected to the single cable. There is no limit to the no: of nodes that can be attached to this network, but the no: of connected nodes can actually affect the performance of the network.

In a bus topology, one of the nodes acts as the server and transmits the data from one end to the other in a single direction. When the data reaches the extreme end, the terminator removes the data from the line.

In a bus topology, one main cable acts as the backbone for the entire network.  The bus topology carries the transmitted data along the cable. As the data reaches each node, the node checks the destination address (MAC/IP address) to see if it matches their address. If the address doesn’t match, the node does nothing more. But if the node addresses match to the address contained in the data then they process on the information.

The Backbone cable in the bus topology depends on the type of network card used in each computer, an RJ-45 network cable or coaxial cable is used to connect them together.

Bus topology
Bus topology

The following sections contain both the advantages and disadvantages of using a bus topology in a network.

Characteristics of Bus Topology:

  • Flexible
  • Expandable
  • Moderate Reliability
  • Moderate performance

Advantages of Bus Topology:

  1. Easy to connect or remove devices in a network without affecting any other device.
  2. In case of any computer or device failure, there will be no effect on other devices or network.
  3. Cable cost is less as compared to other network topology i.e. mesh and star.
  4. It is easy to understand topology.
  5. Easy to expand by joining two cables together

Disadvantages of Bus Topology:

  1. In the case of any device failure, it is difficult to find faults in a network.
  2. If the backbone cable damages the entire system/network will fail.
  3. If network traffic increases or devices increase, the performance of the network decreases.
  4. Proper termination is required to prevent bouncing of signals. The use of terminators is a must.
  5. It is slower because one computer transmits at a time.
  6. It provides very low security because all the computers receive the sent signal from the source.
  7. The length of cable is limited

In comparison to the point to point topology, it’s clear that bus topology possesses major advantages, for instant point to point topology can provide access to only two nodes whereas bus topology allows multiple nodes communication.

This means that several different computers, printers, routers, or other data devices can be connected to this network. This makes bus topology a better choice for small area connections such as small businesses or small school networks.

In the design of early LANs (Local Area Networks) Bus topology was used.

Also Read:

  1. What is Point to Point Topology? Advantages and Disadvantages
  2. What is Star Topology? Advantages & Disadvantages 
  3. What is Mesh Topology? Advantages & Disadvantages
  4. What is Ring Topology? Advantages & Disadvantages
  5. What is Tree Topology? Advantages & Disadvantages
  6. What is Hybrid Topology? Advantages & Disadvantages
  7. What is LAN Network? Advantages and Disadvantages of LAN
  8. What is WAN Network? Advantages and Disadvantages of WAN
  9. What is MAN Network? Advantages and Disadvantages of MAN
  10. Network Operating System- Advantages and Disadvantages of NOS