Mesh topology is a type of network topology in which all devices in the network are interconnected. In a mesh topology, data can be transmitted by routing (sent the shortest distance) and flooding (sent to all devices).
The two types of mesh topology are:
- Full mesh topology. Every device in the network is connected to all other devices in the network. A full mesh offers high levels of redundancy but is expensive to implement. As such, it’s typically used for network backbones.
- Partial mesh topology. Only some of the devices in the network are connected to multiple other devices in the network. A partial mesh is more practical and cost-effective than a full mesh, and is more widely used.
Advantages of Mesh Topology
- Multiple devices can transmit data at the same time, allowing for high amounts of traffic
- If one device fails, data transmission is not impacted in the rest of the network
- Adding devices to the network does not disrupt data transmission
- Troubleshooting is easier than with alternative topologies
Disadvantages of Mesh Topology
- Network installation and maintenance is time and resource intensive
- High power requirement due to all the devices needing to remain active all the time
- Requires a large amount of cables and ports
- The potential for a large amount of redundant connections increases costs and reduces efficiency
Why You Need Network Topology Diagrams
Network topology diagrams are used to visually represent a network’s devices and connections, allowing you to picture how devices are devices communicate with each other.
Network diagrams help improve:
- Uptime. Accurate network documentation enables quick diagnosis in the event of network issues or planned maintenance.
- Efficiency. A real-time view of your network helps you maximize the utilization of your existing capacity and forecast when you will run out of capacity.
- Productivity. Reliable network diagrams allow you to save time troubleshooting issues and deploying new equipment so you can focus on more strategic projects.
Top Challenges of Documenting Network Topologies
Spreadsheets and drawing tools are commonly used for network documentation, but they are:
- Time-consuming. Network topology diagrams must be manually updated every time you move, add, or change equipment. Resources need to be spent on this job instead of more productive work.
- Inaccurate. When network diagrams are updated manually, human error is bound to occur. Inaccurate data can lead to costly downtime and stranded capacity.
- Difficult to manage. Poor version control results in different team members having different documentation and data. Poor data sharing and collaboration practices can wreak havoc across your organization.
Automatically Generate Complete Network Diagrams
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software automatically renders network topology diagrams so you can visualize your entire network in a single pane of glass.
You can filter by types of equipment, click any node to highlight connections to other nodes, see details of assets and connections, edit the layout, and drill down to see circuit trace diagrams. You can even view a tiered layout where the devices are organize by core network, distribution network, and access network.
Automatic network diagrams greatly decrease the time spent troubleshooting and performing impact analysis. Modern DCIM tools make it easy to visualize what's connected to what, across both active and passive (i.e., patch panels and structured cabling), and across all sites.
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