Michael C. McKay

Understanding the Difference between Physical and Logical Network Topologies

arrangement devices, devices connected, network topologies, network topology

Understanding the Difference between Physical and Logical Network Topologies

In the world of networking, understanding the difference between physical and logical network topologies is essential. A network topology refers to the layout of connections, devices, and peripherals in a network. In a physical network topology, the actual physical arrangement of devices, cables, switches, routers, and other hardware components is depicted. On the other hand, a logical network topology represents the logical arrangement of nodes, interfaces, protocols, and security configurations in a network.

Physical network topologies are often represented through diagrams and visualizations that illustrate the physical structure of a network. These diagrams show the physical connections between various devices, such as computers, printers, servers, and switches, and the cables that connect them. Understanding the physical network topology is important for troubleshooting, maintenance, and expansion of a network. It helps network administrators identify potential areas of congestion, locate faulty cables or devices, and plan for future growth.

Logical network topologies, on the other hand, focus on the logical arrangement and communication between network devices. It represents the flow of information and data through the network, as well as the protocols and configurations that govern that flow. Logical network topologies are typically depicted using specialized software or tools that show the logical connections between devices, such as virtual networks, subnets, and VLANs.

The main difference between physical and logical network topologies lies in their representation and focus. Physical network topologies are concerned with the arrangement of physical devices and cables, while logical network topologies focus on the logical organization and communication between devices. Both physical and logical network topologies are crucial for understanding and managing networks effectively, as they provide different perspectives and information that is essential for building and maintaining a secure and efficient network infrastructure.

Physical and Logical Network Topologies: Understanding the Difference

In a network, both physical and logical topologies play an important role in determining how devices are connected and communicate with each other. While physical network topology refers to the physical arrangement of devices, cables, and connections, logical network topology refers to the way in which data travels across the network using protocols and configurations.

Physical network topology: Physical network topology represents the physical layout of a network. It includes the placement of network devices such as routers, switches, and servers, as well as the connections between them using cables. The physical topology can be depicted using diagrams that show the actual physical arrangement of the devices and the cables that connect them.

Logical network topology: Logical network topology, on the other hand, focuses on how data packets are transmitted across the network. It describes the paths that data takes, the communication protocols used, and the logical connections between devices. This includes information about IP addresses, network interfaces, and security configurations. A logical network topology is often represented using diagrams that show the logical arrangement of devices and how they communicate.

In summary, physical network topology deals with the physical layout and connections of devices in a network, while logical network topology deals with the protocols, configurations, and logical paths that data takes. Both physical and logical topologies are important in understanding how a network operates and how devices communicate with each other.

What are network topologies?

A network topology refers to the physical or logical arrangement of nodes, devices, and connections within a computer network. It defines the structure and configurations of a network, including how the devices and interfaces are connected and the overall layout of the network.

In a physical network topology, the arrangement and connections of the devices, such as switches, routers, servers, and peripherals, are depicted in a diagram. This includes the cables that connect these devices and the physical arrangement of nodes.

On the other hand, a logical network topology refers to the communication paths and protocols used within a network, regardless of the physical arrangement. It focuses on how data is transmitted and the logical connections between devices. Logical topologies are often represented by network diagrams that show the data flow and communication paths.

Network topologies play a crucial role in determining the security, efficiency, and scalability of a network. The chosen topology can affect factors such as data transfer speeds, reliability, and ease of troubleshooting. Different topologies, such as star, bus, ring, or mesh, have their own advantages and disadvantages and are selected based on the specific requirements of the network.

Overall, network topologies provide a framework for organizing and managing the connections and interactions between devices and systems within a network. They are an essential aspect of network design and operations, helping to ensure smooth communication and efficient data transfers.

Importance of understanding network topologies

Network topologies refer to the structure or arrangement of devices, nodes, and interfaces in a network. It is crucial for individuals to have a deep understanding of network topologies, both physical and logical, to effectively manage and maintain a network.

By understanding the physical layout of a network, administrators can create a clear and accurate diagram that depicts the connections between devices such as routers, switches, and servers. This visual representation helps in troubleshooting network issues, identifying bottlenecks, and planning for future expansions or changes.

Furthermore, comprehending logical network topologies is essential for configuring devices and implementing proper security measures. Logical topologies define how data flows between different devices, the protocols in use, and the overall network infrastructure. This knowledge helps administrators in determining optimal configurations, selecting the appropriate security protocols, and managing network traffic.

An in-depth understanding of network topologies also enables administrators to properly integrate peripherals, such as printers or scanners, into the network. They can identify the most suitable locations for these devices, ensuring efficient utilization of resources and seamless communication between peripherals and other network devices.

Moreover, network topologies play a vital role in ensuring the security of the network. Understanding the physical and logical layout of the network helps administrators identify potential vulnerabilities, such as weak access points or unprotected connections. This knowledge allows them to implement robust security measures, such as firewalls or encryption protocols, to safeguard sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.

In conclusion, understanding network topologies, both physical and logical, is of utmost importance for network administrators. It enables them to effectively manage and maintain the network by creating accurate diagrams, configuring devices, integrating peripherals, and implementing robust security measures. With this knowledge, administrators can ensure optimal performance, efficiency, and security within the network.

Differences between physical and logical network topologies

Physical network topology refers to the actual arrangement or layout of devices and connections in a network. It includes the physical components such as cables, routers, switches, servers, and peripherals. A physical network topology diagram provides a visual representation of the physical structure of a network.

On the other hand, logical network topology focuses on the logical connections between devices and nodes in a network. It defines the way in which data is transmitted between devices and the protocols used for communication. Logical network topology is not concerned with the physical arrangement of devices but rather with the logical arrangement of interfaces and connections.

In physical network topology, devices and cables are physically connected to each other, creating a physical network structure. The physical topology can be a star, bus, ring, or mesh arrangement, depending on the networking needs and constraints.

Logical network topology, on the other hand, determines how data flows between devices and nodes in a network. It is defined by the logical connections and interfaces established between devices, irrespective of their physical placement. Protocols such as Ethernet or TCP/IP are used to ensure efficient data transmission in a logical network.

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While physical network topology focuses on the physical aspect of a network, logical network topology is more concerned with the logical arrangement of devices and the flow of data. Both physical and logical network topologies are important for network design, management, and security. A solid understanding of the differences between physical and logical network topologies is crucial for establishing an efficient and secure network infrastructure.

Overview of physical network topologies

A physical network topology refers to the actual physical connections, layout, and arrangement of devices in a network. It focuses on the physical structure of the network and how devices are connected to each other.

In a physical network topology, nodes such as computers, servers, switches, routers, and peripherals are connected through various types of cables, such as Ethernet cables or fiber-optic cables. These cables physically connect the different devices, allowing them to communicate and share resources.

Physical network topologies can take different forms, depending on the organization’s requirements and the layout of the building. Common physical network topologies include star, bus, ring, mesh, and hybrid topologies.

In a star topology, all devices are connected to a central hub or switch. This central device acts as the central point of communication, allowing all devices to communicate with each other. This topology provides a high level of security as each device has its own connection to the central device.

In a bus topology, all devices are connected to a common cable known as the bus. Data is transmitted along this cable, and each device receives the data and decides whether to process it based on its address. This topology is simple and cost-effective but can be prone to network failures if the main cable is damaged.

A ring topology connects devices in a circular manner, where each device is connected to two other devices in the network. Data travels in a circular path, passing through each device until it reaches its destination. This topology provides redundancy as data can take different paths in case of a link failure.

A mesh topology provides a high level of redundancy as each device is connected directly to every other device in the network. This allows for multiple paths for data to travel, ensuring reliability and fault tolerance. However, this topology can be complex and expensive to implement.

Physical network topologies are also influenced by the network’s security requirements. For example, in a secure network, physical access to devices can be restricted, and devices can be placed in secure areas to prevent unauthorized access.

In conclusion, physical network topologies define the physical connections and structure of a network. By understanding the different physical topologies, organizations can design and implement networks that meet their specific requirements in terms of scalability, performance, redundancy, and security.

Overview of logical network topologies

Logical network topologies refer to the arrangement and structure of networks in terms of their logical connections and configurations. Unlike physical network topologies, which focus on the physical arrangement of devices, cables, and peripherals, logical network topologies focus on how these devices are connected and communicate with each other.

In a logical network topology, nodes are represented by devices such as computers, servers, switches, and routers, which are connected through interfaces and cables. These connections form a logical network, where data can be transmitted and shared between devices.

One of the key advantages of logical network topologies is their flexibility. Unlike physical topologies that require physical rearrangements to add or remove devices, logical topologies can be easily reconfigured and adapted to meet changing network requirements. This flexibility allows for efficient management of network resources and enables better scalability.

Logical network topologies also play a crucial role in maintaining network security. By controlling the logical connections between devices, administrators can enforce access controls and implement security measures to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.

When designing a logical network topology, network administrators typically use tools such as network diagrams to visually represent the connections between nodes. These diagrams help visualize the logical relationships between devices and aid in troubleshooting and planning for network expansions or modifications.

Some common types of logical network topologies include bus, ring, star, mesh, and tree. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of topology depends on factors such as network size, scalability, and performance requirements.

Key differences between physical and logical network topologies

A physical network topology refers to the actual physical arrangement of devices, cables, and connections in a network. It is a visual diagram that shows the layout and structure of a network. Physical network topologies typically include devices such as servers, switches, routers, and peripherals, as well as the cables and interfaces connecting them.

In contrast, a logical network topology refers to the logical arrangement and configurations of devices, nodes, and protocols in a network. It focuses on the logical connections and communication paths between devices rather than the physical layout. Logical network topologies are often represented by diagrams that illustrate how data flows between different nodes and devices in the network.

One key difference between physical and logical network topologies is that physical network topologies are directly observable and can be physically manipulated. Changes in physical network topologies usually involve adding or removing devices, replacing cables, or reconfiguring hardware. On the other hand, logical network topologies are not physically tangible and can only be modified through the software-defined configurations of devices and protocols.

Another difference is that physical network topologies are more concerned with the actual hardware components and their physical connections. They focus on aspects such as cable lengths, connection types, and physical security measures. Logical network topologies, on the other hand, are more concerned with the logical paths and protocols used for data communication. They deal with IP addressing schemes, routing protocols, and security protocols like VPNs and firewalls.

In summary, while physical network topologies deal with the physical layout and connections of devices in a network, logical network topologies focus on the logical paths and protocols used for data communication. Both the physical and logical aspects are essential for a functional and secure network infrastructure.

Advantages and disadvantages of physical and logical network topologies

Physical network topology refers to the actual physical layout of the network, including the arrangement of devices, cables, and peripherals. One advantage of physical network topology is that it is easier to understand and visualize. With a physical diagram, it is clear how the devices are connected and where the cables are running. This can make it easier to troubleshoot and maintain the network.

However, physical network topology also has some disadvantages. One is that it can be difficult to make changes or configure the network. Adding or removing devices, changing cable layouts, or reconfiguring interfaces can be time-consuming and may require expertise. Another disadvantage is that physical topology is less flexible. If a device needs to be moved or a cable needs to be rerouted, it can be a complex and disruptive process.

Logical network topology, on the other hand, refers to the structure of the network in terms of the protocols and configurations used. One advantage of logical network topology is its flexibility. With logical topology, it is easier to make changes and add new devices or services. This can be especially useful in dynamic environments where network needs are constantly evolving.

However, logical network topology also has its drawbacks. One disadvantage is that it can be more complex to understand and troubleshoot. While physical topology can be visualized with a diagram, logical topology is not always as straightforward. Additionally, logical topology may introduce potential security concerns. Since logical topology relies heavily on protocols and configurations, any vulnerabilities or misconfigurations could compromise the security of the network.

In conclusion, physical and logical network topologies each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Physical topology offers a clear understanding of the network layout, while logical topology provides flexibility and adaptability. It is important for network administrators to consider these factors when designing, maintaining, and securing a network.

Advantages of physical network topologies

Advantages of physical network topologies

Physical network topologies offer several advantages over logical network topologies due to their physical layout and structure.

1. Easy troubleshooting: In a physical network, it is easier to identify and troubleshoot network issues. The physical arrangement of devices, connections, and cables allows technicians to visually inspect and trace connections, making it faster to find and fix problems.

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2. Efficient use of resources: Physical network topologies allow for better resource utilization. By directly connecting devices and peripherals to the network, there is no need for additional overhead introduced by logical configurations or protocols. This results in reduced latency and improved performance.

3. Enhanced security: Physical network topologies offer enhanced security as they allow for physical access control. By physically securing the network devices, such as servers, switches, and routers, unauthorized access can be prevented. This reduces the risk of unauthorized data breaches and network attacks.

4. Scalability: Physical network topologies provide scalability options. New devices, nodes, or peripherals can be easily added to the network by connecting them physically. This makes it easier to expand the network and accommodate the growing needs of an organization.

5. Flexibility in design: Physical network topologies offer flexibility in designing the network layout. Different physical arrangements, such as star topology, bus topology, or ring topology, can be used to suit the specific requirements of the network. This allows for customization and optimization of the network design.

6. Dedicated connections: In a physical network, each device has a dedicated physical connection, ensuring a direct and reliable communication path. This eliminates the possibility of congestion or performance issues caused by sharing connections, as often seen in logical network topologies.

7. Minimal protocol overhead: Physical network topologies have minimal protocol overhead. Unlike logical network topologies that require additional protocols for addressing, routing, and encapsulation, physical network topologies rely on simple physical connections and do not introduce additional protocol complexities.

8. Limited vulnerability to network failures: Physical network topologies are less vulnerable to network failures. In case of a failure in a logical network topology, the entire network may be affected. However, in a physical network topology, failures are typically isolated to specific devices or connections, allowing the rest of the network to continue functioning.

Overall, physical network topologies offer practical advantages in terms of troubleshooting, resource utilization, security, scalability, flexibility in design, dedicated connections, minimal protocol overhead, and limited vulnerability to network failures.

Advantages of logical network topologies

Logical network topologies provide several advantages over physical network topologies. One of the main advantages is flexibility. With a logical network topology, the layout and arrangement of network devices and connections can be easily changed without requiring physical reconfiguration. This allows for faster scalability and the ability to adapt to changing network requirements.

Another advantage is the ability to easily visualize and understand the network structure. Logical network topologies can be represented using diagrams and diagrams that illustrate the connections between devices and nodes. This makes it easier for network administrators to troubleshoot and identify any issues that may arise.

Logical network topologies also offer better security and control. By implementing security protocols and configurations at the logical level, network administrators can ensure that only authorized devices and users can access the network. Additionally, logical topologies allow for the segregation of different network segments, enhancing network security.

In addition, logical network topologies allow for better management of network peripherals. By separating the physical layout from the logical arrangement, network administrators can easily add, remove or replace peripherals without disrupting the overall network. This results in less downtime and improved efficiency.

Furthermore, logical network topologies enable easier integration of different network technologies. By using routers and switches, logical connections can be established between different network segments, allowing for the seamless exchange of data between devices and servers. This promotes better communication and collaboration within the network.

In summary, logical network topologies offer flexibility, better visualization, improved security, efficient peripheral management, and enhanced integration capabilities. They provide network administrators with the tools they need to design, configure, and maintain a reliable and secure network infrastructure.

Disadvantages of physical network topologies

Physical network topologies, which refer to the physical layout and arrangement of devices and cables in a network, have several disadvantages that can impact the overall efficiency and security of the network.

One of the major drawbacks of physical network topologies is the complexity of the layout. As the number of devices, peripherals, and servers increases, the physical arrangement of cables and interfaces becomes more intricate and difficult to manage. This can result in a higher chance of human error during installations and configurations, leading to network issues and downtime.

Another disadvantage of physical network topologies is the lack of flexibility. The fixed physical connections between nodes, switches, and routers limit the network’s ability to adapt to changes and upgrades. Any changes or additions to the network structure require physically rearranging cables and devices, which can be time-consuming and disruptive to the network’s operations.

Physical network topologies also pose a security risk. The physical connections between devices make it easier for unauthorized individuals to gain physical access to the network and potentially compromise its security. Additionally, the reliance on physical cables for communication makes the network vulnerable to accidental damage or intentional sabotage.

Furthermore, physical network topologies can be cost-prohibitive. The need for extensive cabling, routers, switches, and other physical devices can result in higher upfront costs for setting up the network. Additionally, any changes or expansions to the network may require additional expenses for purchasing and installing new hardware.

In contrast, logical network topologies, which depict the logical connections and configurations of devices in a network, offer greater flexibility, scalability, and security. By eliminating the physical constraints and reliance on physical infrastructure, logical network topologies allow for easier network management, troubleshooting, and upgrades.

Disadvantages of logical network topologies

Logical network topologies have certain disadvantages that can affect the overall efficiency and performance of a network. One of the main disadvantages is the dependence on devices and routers to establish connections between peripherals and nodes. This reliance on devices can lead to increased complexity and potential points of failure in the network.

Another disadvantage of logical network topologies is the limited number of connections that can be established between devices. With the use of cables and interfaces, the network may have a restricted capacity for adding new peripherals or nodes, resulting in a limited scalability and expansion options.

Additionally, logical network topologies can have security vulnerabilities due to their structure. As protocols and configurations are managed at a logical level, it becomes easier for unauthorized access and data breaches to occur. Security measures must be implemented at multiple layers to ensure the protection of sensitive information.

The layout and arrangement of logical network topologies can also impact the overall efficiency of the network. In a logical topology, nodes are interconnected through switches or routers, resulting in a hierarchal structure. This structure can introduce bottlenecks and congestion points, affecting the speed and performance of data transmission.

Furthermore, logical network topologies may not always accurately represent the physical layout of the network. The logical diagram may not provide an accurate representation of the physical placements of cables and devices. This lack of alignment can lead to difficulties in troubleshooting and managing the network effectively.

Choosing the right network topology for your needs

In order to design an efficient and reliable network, it is important to choose the right network topology for your needs. The two main types of network topologies are physical and logical.

Physical network topology refers to the actual physical arrangement of network devices, nodes, and cables. It includes the layout and structure of the network, such as the placement of switches, routers, servers, and other devices. Physical topology determines how devices are connected and the physical configurations of cables and interfaces.

Logical network topology, on the other hand, refers to the way data is transmitted and how devices communicate with each other. It is determined by the network protocols and configurations used. Logical topology focuses on the logical connections and paths between devices, rather than their physical arrangement.

When choosing the right network topology for your needs, it is important to consider factors such as scalability, security, and performance. For example, a star topology, where all devices are connected to a central switch or hub, may be suitable for small networks with a limited number of nodes. This topology is easy to manage and offers improved network security, as any issues with one node do not affect the rest of the network.

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On the other hand, a mesh topology, where all devices are connected to each other, may be more suitable for larger networks that require high redundancy and fault tolerance. This topology provides multiple paths for data to travel, increasing network resilience and ensuring that a single point of failure does not bring down the entire network.

In conclusion, choosing the right network topology involves considering the specific needs and requirements of your network. It is important to evaluate factors such as scalability, security, and performance in order to design an efficient and reliable network. Whether you opt for a physical or logical topology, understanding the different options and their advantages will help you make an informed decision.

Factors to consider when choosing a physical network topology

When choosing a physical network topology, there are several important factors to consider. These factors include the layout of the building or area where the network will be implemented, the structure of the network itself, the types of devices and peripherals that will be connected, as well as the security requirements and protocols that will be used.

The layout of the building or area plays a crucial role in determining the physical network topology. Factors such as the size and shape of the space, as well as the location of walls, ceilings, and other obstacles, need to be considered when deciding the arrangement of devices, switches, and cables. This layout will help determine how the physical connections and configurations are established.

The structure of the network is another important factor to consider. This includes the type of topology that will be used, such as star, bus, ring, or mesh. Each topology has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of scalability, reliability, and ease of management. Therefore, it is important to choose a topology that best suits the needs of the network.

The types of devices and peripherals that will be connected to the network also need to be considered. This includes the number and types of servers, routers, switches, and other network devices that will be utilized. These devices will have interfaces and connections that need to be compatible with the chosen physical network topology.

Additionally, the security requirements and protocols should also be taken into account. This includes measures such as firewalls, encryption, access control, and intrusion detection systems. The physical network topology should be designed in a way that supports the security measures and ensures the protection of sensitive data.

In conclusion, when choosing a physical network topology, it is important to consider factors such as the layout of the building, the structure of the network, the types of devices and peripherals, as well as the security requirements and protocols. Evaluating these factors will help ensure the successful implementation of a reliable and secure network.

Factors to consider when choosing a logical network topology

When deciding on a logical network topology, several factors should be taken into consideration to ensure optimal connectivity, data transfer, and security. These factors include:

  • Organizational structure: The network topology should align with the organization’s structure and its communication needs. This includes considering the number of departments, branches, and the location of servers and peripherals.
  • Network size and complexity: The size and complexity of the network should be evaluated. This involves considering the number of nodes, switches, routers, and cables required to connect them. A logical topology that can efficiently handle the network’s scale and traffic is essential.
  • Data transfer requirements: Understanding the data transfer requirements of the organization is critical in determining the appropriate logical topology. Factors to consider include the amount of data being transferred, the speed at which it needs to occur, and any specific protocols or configurations necessary for the network devices.
  • Network security: The security of the network is a crucial consideration. The logical topology should minimize the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats. This may involve implementing firewalls, encryption protocols, and other security measures.
  • Connectivity requirements: The connectivity needs of the organization should be evaluated. This includes considering the type and number of interfaces required for the network devices, as well as the availability of high-speed connections.
  • Scalability and future-proofing: The chosen logical topology should be scalable to accommodate future growth and advancements. It should allow for easy addition of new devices or expansion of the network without requiring significant changes to its structure.

Considering these factors when choosing a logical network topology ensures a well-designed and efficient network layout that meets the organization’s current needs and can adapt to future requirements.

Common network topology configurations

Common network topology configurations

Network topology refers to the arrangement of various network devices and connections that make up a network. There are several common configurations that are commonly used when setting up a network.

One common network topology configuration is the star topology. In this configuration, all devices are connected to a central network node, usually a hub or switch. Each device has its own connection to the central node, forming a star-like structure. This configuration is easy to set up and allows for easy troubleshooting, as each device can be easily isolated from the network if needed.

Another commonly used configuration is the bus topology. In this configuration, all devices are connected to a single network cable, forming a linear arrangement. Each device connects to the cable through its own interface, and data is transmitted in both directions along the cable. This configuration is simple and cost-effective, but it can be prone to network congestion and can be difficult to troubleshoot.

The ring topology is another popular configuration. In this configuration, devices are connected in a circular arrangement, with each device connected to the device next to it. Data is transmitted in one direction around the ring, passing through each device until it reaches its destination. This configuration provides redundancy and can be easily expanded, but it can be difficult to troubleshoot if a single device fails.

A mesh topology is another configuration that is commonly used in large networks. In this configuration, devices are connected to each other in a mesh-like structure, with multiple paths for data to flow. This configuration provides high redundancy and fault tolerance, as data can be rerouted if a connection fails. However, it can be complex and expensive to implement and requires careful planning.

These common network topology configurations can be combined and customized to fit the specific needs of a network. For example, a network may have a star topology at the core, with additional devices connected in a mesh configuration to provide redundancy. The specific configuration chosen will depend on factors such as the size and scale of the network, the number of devices, the types of devices (such as servers, routers, or switches), and the protocols used.

Overall, understanding different network topology configurations is essential for designing and maintaining efficient and reliable networks. By selecting the appropriate arrangement of devices and connections, network administrators can ensure optimal performance and minimize potential issues.

FAQ about topic “Understanding the Difference between Physical and Logical Network Topologies”

What is the difference between physical and logical network topologies?

Physical network topology refers to the actual layout and physical components of a network, such as cables, switches, and routers. Logical network topology, on the other hand, refers to the way in which data flows within a network, including protocols and addressing schemes.

How do physical network topologies affect network performance?

The physical network topology plays a crucial role in determining network performance. Factors such as the quality of cables, the distance between nodes, and the number of connections can affect network speed and reliability.

What are some common examples of physical network topologies?

Some common examples of physical network topologies include bus, star, ring, mesh, and hybrid. Each topology has its own advantages and disadvantages and is suitable for different network environments.

What are the benefits of using a logical network topology?

A logical network topology provides a high-level view of how data is organized and transmitted within a network. It helps in optimizing network performance, identifying potential bottlenecks, and simplifying network management tasks.

Can a network have multiple physical and logical topologies?

Yes, a network can have multiple physical and logical topologies. For example, a network may have a physical star topology but use a logical ring topology for data transmission. It allows for flexibility and customization based on the specific requirements of the network.

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