What is Ring Topology? Examples, Advantages and Disadvantages

What is Ring Topology? Examples, Advantages and Disadvantages

What is Ring Topology? 

A ring topology, also known as a ring network, is a network topology where each node is connected to two other nodes (forward and reverse) correctly to form a continuous signal transmission path. A ring topology is a network configuration where device connections create cyclic data paths.

Each networked device is connected to two other devices, such as a dot on a circle. The devices in a ring topology are collectively called a ring network.

Ring topology definition, all computers are connected in a ring. Each computer is directly connected to the other two computers in the network. Data moves from one computer to another along a one-way path. When a data signal is passed from one computer to another, each computer regenerates the signal. Since the signal is regenerated on each passing computer, the signal quality remains constant throughout the ring network.

Ring Topology Diagram

What is Ring Topology? Examples, Advantages and Disadvantages

This topology uses tokens to pass information from one computer to another. In this topology, all messages pass through the ring in the same direction. The first node is connected to the last node to link the loops together. Because this format is used for layout, the data packet needs to pass through all nodes on the way to the destination.

In this topology, you select a node to configure the network and monitor other devices. The ring topology is half-duplex, but it can also be made full-duplex. To make a ring topology full-duplex, you will need to establish two connections between network nodes to form a Dual ring topology.

Types of Ring Topology

Depending on the data flow, there are two types of ring topology:
1. Unidirectional 
2. Bidirectional or Dual Ring Topology

1. Unidirectional 

A unidirectional ring topology can handle data traffic in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Therefore, the data network can also be called a half-duplex network. Therefore, compared to a two-way ring topology, the unidirectional ring topology is easier to maintain.

2. Dual Ring Topology

As mentioned above, if the ring topologies are configured bidirectionally, they are called dual ring topologies. The dual-ring topology provides two connections for each node, one in each direction. As a result, data can flow clockwise or counterclockwise.

Example: The SONET network, SDH network, etc.

SONET / SDH is a standardized network protocol that transmits data streams over optical fiber. A bidirectional ring topology can handle data traffic in both directions and can be a full-duplex network.

Token Ring Topology or Token Passing

Token passing in a ring topology is usually a term being talked about. Therefore, the token contains a message that is sent with the source computer. In simpler terms, a token is like a license package that allows specific nodes to permit information to be published over the network.

Tokens are periodically passed from one node to another. If a node has some information to pass through the network, the node will release that information. If the node does not have any data to be published on the network, it transfers the token to the next node.

Tokenized nodes are nodes that are only allowed to send data. Other nodes must wait for the empty tokens to arrive at them.

Ring Topology Protocols

A protocol is basically a rule that controls communication. Whether you browse the web, send/receive the email, or download files, we always use some form of protocol. For example, if we are browsing the Internet, we will see words such as Http or https in the address bar of a web browser. These are some simple examples of protocols. The ring topology uses one of the following protocols:

1. Token Ring
2. Metro Ring Protocol
3. Fiber Distributed Data Interface

Examples of Ring Topology Network in Real Life 

One of the common examples that still exists is the SONET ring. SONET stands for Synchronous Optical Networking. It uses fiber optic cables for long distance, heavy-duty data transmission. You can simply think of SONET as a fiber ring topology. It is a highly reliable computer network used to synchronize branches of multinational companies. Due to the use of fiber optic cable ring topology, it can provide the best data transmission speed. SONET is one of the most popular ring topology applications.

Ring Topology Applications and Uses

Ring topology most commonly used in schools, offices, and smaller buildings with smaller networks. The ring topology can be used for LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network). Depending on the type of network card used by each computer in the ring topology, you can use coaxial or RJ-45 network cables to connect the computers together.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ring Topology


  1. Easy to build and maintain.
  2. Troubleshooting is relatively easy.
  3. Best for high-speed data transmission.
  4. Faster error checking and confirmation.
  5. By using multiple rings, reliability can be improved.
  6. Adding more devices does not overload the network.
  7. Peer-to-peer configurations share resources correctly.
  8. Provides equal access to all computers in the network.
  9. Data can be transferred at high speed between workstations.
  10. No network server is required to control the network connection between each workstation.
  11. Dual-ring topology provide additional layers of protection because they are more resistant to failure.
  12. Since each node releases the packet after receiving the token, the chance of data collision is reduced.
  13. Compared to other types, it is much cheaper. This is because you do not need any additional hardware in the form of a terminator or hub.


  1. Compared to star network topology, performance is slower.
  2. Drop wires and connectors can damage the backbone cable.
  3. Adding or removing network devices is a bit difficult and tricky.
  4. If one workstation is shut down, the entire network will be affected.
  5. It does not provide synchronous communication of network devices.
  6. In a ring network, the topology signal is always circulating, which will cause unnecessary power consumption.
  7. All data transmitted over the network must pass through every workstation on the network, which makes it slower than a star topology.
  8. Because data messages must pass through all nodes, it is less secure. As a result, unauthorized people can access potentially sensitive data.


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