Updated August 10, 2023
Introduction to Ring Topology
Ring topology also called as the Ring Network, is a network topology method, in which two other nodes, forward and backward, are linked for each node exactly so as to form a single continuous path for signal communication. Basically, ring topology is divided into the two types which are Bidirectional and Unidirectional. Most Ring Topologies allow packets to only move in one direction, known as a one-way unidirectional ring network. Others allow data to go, either way, called bidirectional.
Given below are the 7 topologies in the network:
- Point-to-point Topology
- Bus Topology
- Star Topology
- Ring Topology
- Tree Topology
- Mesh Topology
- Hybrid Topology
How Ring Topology is Formed?
In-Ring topology, each device is connected with two devices and multiples of such formations are joined together to make a circular path and this network is called a ring network. In-ring topology data is passed from one device to the next device and so on until the data reaches the destination. Data is transmitted by the sending node to the destination node through tokens and hence this topology is also known as Token Ring Topology. This topology mandates all the nodes to remain active for transmission to remain active and hence it is also called Active Topology.
If the number of nodes is large, the tokens will have to hop several nodes before reaching its destination and hence there could be data loss. To prevent this data loss repeaters are installed intermittently to boost signal strength.
Unidirectional Ring: In a unidirectional ring network, the data flows in only one direction either clockwise or anti-clockwise and such a network is called a half-duplex network. In general, most of the ring network allows this kind of data flow only.
Bidirectional Ring: Unidirectional ring network can be converted into a bidirectional network by having two connections between two network nodes. It is also called a dual-ring network in which two rings are created to send data in the opposite direction. Dual rings provide alternate paths to reach any node in case of failure in any of the intermediate nodes while sending data in one direction.
How Does Ring Topology work?
The following steps are followed to transmit data between nodes in a ring network.
- Over the ring, empty tokens are freely circulated. The speed of the ring is 16Mbps and it goes up to 100Mbps and still faster ring is under development.
- The empty token has placeholders for storing data frames to be transmitted and holding sender/receiver addresses.
- If a sending node needs to transmit a message, it grabs a token and packs it with the data, receiving node’s MAC address and its own ID in the corresponding spaces in the token.
- The filled token is sent to the next node in the ring.
- The next node receives the token and examines whether the data transmitted is meant for if it is so, the data is copied from the frame to the node and the token is set to zero and passed to the next node otherwise the token is passed to the next node as it is.
- The prior step is repeated until the data reaches the right destination.
- When the token reaches the sender if it finds the receiver has read the data it will initialize the message.
- The token is recirculated and ready to be consumed by any of the nodes.
- If a node is inactive in the ring path and the communication is broken, if the network supports dual ring the data is sent in the reverse direction to the destination.
Why we use it?
Selection of the network topology depends on:
- Organization’s operational model.
- The complexity of the IT landscape.
- Expected End-user performance level.
- Budget allocation.
Selection of Right topology ensures high performance of the network, easy manageability of network operations and increased data efficiency.
Top 5 reasons for choosing Ring topology over other topology.
- Data flow unidirectional and hence the possibility of data collision is minimal.
- There is no need for any network control server to manage data transmission.
- Management of this topology is less complicated and any new nodes can be added seamlessly.
- Data can be transferred at a faster rate in this type of network.
- The operation cost of these types of networks is economical.
Where we use Ring Topology?
Let us know the reason where we use ring topology.
- Ring Topology is deployed in a Local area network (LAN) and a Wide area network (MAN) as well.
- SONET (Synchronous optical network) fiber networks in the Telecommunication domain uses Ring topology quite extensively.
- It provides a standard for global telecommunication networks which will replace many older systems and it offers many advantages like:
- Reliable network
- Low Capital investment
- Seamless connectivity with multiple service providers
- Futuristic in technology
- It also makes use of the bidirectional capability of this dual-ring topology to route traffic in another direction if the connection is lost with a node.
- It is also used in educational institutions due to its lower cost of operation and few commercial establishments also use it. Many organizations have a ring network is as a fallback system (backup) for their existing network.
Below are some of the advantages given.
- Management of Ring network is easier and any faults can be easily tracked and rectified.
- New nodes can be seamlessly added and nodes can be removed easily.
- The speed of this network is relatively faster than other topologies, especially at a higher load.
- Data flow is in an organized manner between a node to another node
- Economical to operate due to its simple architecture with no servers to control the network operations.
- This network is ideal for applications that need nil or minimal latency.
- Bidirectional data flow considerably reduces the downtime of this network.
With the growth in mainframe computing and the need for latency-free communication, Ring networks are here to stay and it might replace Ethernet in the future. The speed of the ring network is on the increase and it will not be a limiting factor for its growth.
This has been a guide to What is Ring Topology? Here we discuss the introduction, working, use, and benefits of Ring Topology. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –