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Network Know-How by John Ross

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Chapter 3. HUBS, SWITCHES, AND ROUTERS

Any time a network includes more than two nodes, it must have some way to connect any pair of nodes. Large networks can have very complicated structures with many branches and extensions, but the core of every network can be reduced to just a few patterns. The simplified layout of a network is known as its topology.

The most common network topologies are a big loop known as a ring; a hub system with everything connected to a central core called a star, a common path (not a loop) that connects nodes using a time-sharing method; and a mesh, in which there's a direct connection from every node to every other node. Figure 3-1 shows simplified diagrams of each network topology.

In a loop network, such as IBM's old ...

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