Network practitioners are eager to play with emerging technologies hitting the networking landscape, such as software-defined WAN, 5G and AI. Before they can implement these new tools, however, they must first learn the fundamentals of network configuration.
The process of network configuration involves administering policies and settings, determining data flows and assembling the network structure. Network structure goes beyond the physical network design; the arrangement is a crucial step of network configuration, as it helps professionals understand how to monitor performance, troubleshoot, and implement technologies and strategies.
With new and complex technologies soon making way to the networking stratosphere, candidates looking to earn a CompTIA Network+ certification should be familiar with different network types and topologies.
Network types of all sizes exist. Networks with multiple interconnected devices in a single location are known as local area networks (LANs). Wide area networks (WANs) are networks in which several LANs connect to each other. A virtual LAN (VLAN) is a subnetwork of network devices on separate physical LANs grouped together in one virtual network.
Regardless of the size and breadth of a system, every network has a topology that details how everything interconnects together, both physically and logically. Network topology describes the visual structure of the system and how data flows throughout.
There are several network topology types, including the following:
It's not enough to merely configure a network topology without any reinforcement. Any network architect designing infrastructures must know how to implement protocols in their systems. Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), for example, prevents data from looping in a system.
In "Lesson 8: Explaining Network Topologies and Types" of The Official CompTIA Network+ Self-Paced Study Guide (Exam N10-008), from CompTIA, author James Pengelly provided an overview of different network types, outlined how to implement STP, underscored network topologies and more.
With Pengelly's book, Network+ candidates can learn about vendor-neutral network design, configuration and other topics in preparation for their certification exam.
About the author
James Pengelly has spent his entire career writing, editing, developing and designing labs for IT courseware. Since 1999, he's focused on CompTIA certification study materials. He currently holds the title of senior manager of product development at CompTIA Learning, with lead author responsibility for A+, Network+, Security+ and CySA+.