Wide area networks, or shortly known as WANs, would be providing network communication services in the workplace, connecting locations that could be spread out anywhere in the world. A topology is considered to be a description of a layout or arrangement. Applying the concept of topologies to WANs would be involving two different but interrelated perspectives. One perspective to consider is the physical topology, which would be describing the physical arrangement of network devices that would be allowing the data to move from a source to a destination network. Another perspective is the logical topology, which would be describing how data moves over the WAN. Before we move on to the types of WAN Topologies, if you are looking forward to make your career in the IT Sector, you should check out the IT Certification courses offered at the SPOTO Club.
Types of WAN Topologies:
A small company which would be having few locations might implement a flat topology. This design utilizes point-to-point circuits between the physical locations, forming a loop. For a company which has four locations, each site might be connected on the WAN to two other sites which would be located in different states or countries. The physical transport utilized for a flat WAN could involve leased lines, microwave as well as fiber optic service.
A star topology would be linking a central location serving as the hub in the design, with sites branching off the hub such as spokes on a wagon wheel. In a star topology, a failure to one hub location won’t affect the other sites on the WAN. Due to the importance placed on the central location would be serving as the hub, this site would be benefitting from redundant routers. A hub site would be designed with a single WAN router introduces a single point of failure that would take down the entire WAN. For providing for survivability if a hardware failure is going to occur at the hub site, introduce a dual router design.
A full mesh topology would be relying on every site’s WAN router having a connection to every other site on the WAN. Full mesh topologies would be able to provide a high degree of dependability as well as fault tolerance, which could come at quite a high price tag. As a company would be growing in size, a full mesh topology would be becoming expensive due to the quantity of physical WAN circuits required as well as the router specifications for supporting the design. An additional complexity could be found in trouble-shooting the design if a problem occurs.
A deviation to a full mesh involves a partial mesh topology. This design is going to introduce a hierarchical approach to the topology that could be applied when designing international networks, offering flexibility to establish variations in the topology for meeting geographic needs. WAN access sites would be connected to regional points of concentration, which then would be connected to a headquarters site with a central data center. A partial mesh is considered to be more cost effective than a full mesh. Companies could design a partial mesh topology that would be meeting the needs of their environment while factoring fault tolerance, scalability as well as budget planning.
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