In a star topology, each network device is connected to a central communications hub. The most common cable used to connect network devices in a star topology is unshielded twisted pair using Ethernet.
A star topology requires the centralized hub to broadcast incoming traffic to the rest of the network. For instance, a networked PC sends a packet to a server on the local area network in a star topology. The packet is sent from the networked PC to the centralized hub, which then redistributes the packet to all the connected network devices.
There are a number of advantages when a star topology is used. They are as follows:
- Inexpensive to cable: Typically, unshielded twisted pair cabling is used. Unshielded twisted pair is the least expensive cable type.
- Ease of installation: The actual process of installing cable in a star configuration is simple, while connecting the centralized hub is even easier.
- Streamlined troubleshooting: Due to the fact each of the network devices has a direct connection to the centralized hub, troubleshooting cable issues is much easier. To troubleshoot the cable you only need to concern yourself with two ends.
- Manageable growth: Since the star topology allows for centralized connectivity, you can easily add extra capacity by adding an additional centralized hub. This is an extremely manageable method for expanding capacity.
Disadvantages of Star Topology
There are disadvantages associated with the star topology as well:
Network length: Since the same packet is distributed to all network devices, a star topology suffers from a distance limitation when using unshielded twisted pair.
Centralized point of failure: If the centralized hub on the star topology fails, all network communication stops. There isn’t a recovery method in case of a failed centralized hub.