Topologies, Multiplexing, and Synchronization
In addition to different kinds of media, the various network systems use different ways of transmitting data, different organizational structures (topologies), different ways of separating data channels (multiplexing), and different approaches to synchronization (synchronous vs. asynchronous). We'll begin by discussing topology.
Topology in this case is just a fancy way of saying pattern. It's what a network looks like in a diagram on a sheet of paper, i.e., "from the top."
The most common local area network topology is the star (see Figure 11.9). All computers are wired directly to a central point rather than sharing any part of that connection with other computers. The central point ...