Network Topology

What is Hybrid Topology? Definition | Examples | Advantages | Disadvantages

Hybrid Topology combines the physical and logical layout of both all basic types of topology like star topology, bus topology, mesh topology, ring topology and tree topology . But you will have to select one Network Topology arrangement as a backbone. You can select Bus Topology Cable as backbone. Central Device like Hub or Switch is another good option for as backbone. In this way you can extend whole Network by attaching Network Segments. In this article, I am going to discuss details on Hybrid Topology Network with you.

Introductory video about Hybrid Topology.

What is Hybrid Topology in Computer Network?

In simple words it is quite similar to Tree Topology in its construction. However, it is somewhat more advanced when compared to Tree Network. It offers a very complex structure and its physical implementation requires using a variety of technologies. But when you talk about its flexibility then trust me it is quite diverse and flexible. In order to fulfill diversity in Computer Network, you can use it quite easily. Each Network Segment can have different Network Topology configured. For example, you can have Hybrid Topology with a Star Backbone and the Ring Network. On the other hand you can have Star Mesh Hybrid Topology. Whenever main backbone fails, whole Computer Network can stop functioning.

Hybrid Topology Definition

This Type of Network Topology combines all basic Network Topology Types including Bus, Star, Ring and Mesh. In this way, Hybrid Topology presents a blend of characteristics of all basic types. In this type, whole Computer Network is divided into Network Segments. Each Network Segments connects with Network Backbone. The choice of Backbone Network entirely depends upon your choice and liking. Each Network Segment has its own topological configuration.

hybrid topology diagram

Hybrid Topology Examples in Real Life

You can find its examples in a variety of organizations. But you will need to find out such organizations. Even you, yourself, can build your own Hybrid Network at your home or office. It can prove to be a really good choice for you because of its super-easy setup and flexibility options. Hybrid Topology is really handy in case organizations have small departments and even sub-departments. Similarly it can be best choice for you if your office or home has a multi-floor team placements and departments.

So, you get a plenty of options with it. For each department, you can create a Computer Network that best suits their requirements. In certain situations, use of Basic Topology Types creates several types of problems. These problems can affect your budget, human resource and even Network Performance. In the coming section, I am presenting you with a number of different  Hybrid Topology Images based scenarios. These will surly help you in understanding its concept.

Example 1 – Star Ring Hybrid Network Topology

You can easily understand the concept from a basic Hybrid Topology Diagram given below. You can clearly see that left side portion is a typical Ring Topology while the right hand side is typical arrangement of Star Network. Both of these connect to each other with the help of a Switch.

hybrid topology diagram example

Example 2 – Star Bus Hybrid Network Topology

Another typical scenario is shown in picture below. In this Network, there lies a main Hub acting as backbone of the Network. There are three Bus Network lines coming out of the Hub. One end of each Bus Backbone Cable is attached with TerminatorsTerminator helps in preventing signal reflection.

star bus hybrid topology

Application and Uses of Hybrid Topology

There are tremendous applications of using this type of Computer Network. Although basic purpose of a Network is to share resources for the sake of cost management. But so far I have made it quite clear that working mechanism of each type is quite different from the other. In fact, you can apply this scenario anywhere especially in the offices having multiple departments. Each department may require a different mechanism. So, the flexibility of this Type of Network Topology offers you with plenty of options for creating, running and managing your office. However, I am going to give you some typical Hybrid Topology Applications of it, as below:

  • Automated Industry
  • Banks
  • Multi-National Offices
  • Educational Institutes
  • Research Organizations

Difference between Tree and Hybrid Topology

Differentiating FactorsTree TopologyHybrid Topology
Component TopologyBus and StarBus, Star, Ring, Mesh
BackboneAlways Bus BackboneCan have Hub as backbone or Ring as backbone

Working of Hybrid Topology

Its working mechanism is based on IP Addresses like other Types of Network Topologies. However, there is a slight difference in terms of Logical Topology. In a Hybrid Network there are typically different Network branch. Moreover, each branch has its own configuration. There is not a single working mechanism in this Type of Topology. Instead both Physical and Logical Organization of this Topology Network is Hybrid in nature. For better understanding I am going to explain it with the help of following Hybrid Network Topology Diagram.

how hybrid topology works

This hybrid organization combines physical characteristics of all Basic Network Topology Types. Bus Topology organization is serving as a backbone in this example of Computer Network. Moreover, you can clearly see Drop Lines and these are extending basic Network in Star, Extended Star and Ring Sub Network organizations. There are few points that you have to remember regarding this. Have a look at these points:

  1. Main backbone of this scenario Network will be operating like a typical Bus Network. Have a look at How Bus Topology Works?
  2. Sub Network with Star Network configuration will strictly use the working mechanism of Star Network. For understanding working of Star Topology click here.
  3. Ring Sub Network will be using Token Ring for communications withing the sub network. See: Ring Topology Working with Examples.

Hybrid Network Topology Advantages and Disadvantages

I think you might have understood all the basic concepts related to this Type of Network Topology. In this section, I am going to explain your various Pros and Cons of Hybrid Network. These will assist you in deciding whether you want to adopt this for establishing Computer Network at your office or home.


Advantages of Hybrid Topology
  • It is highly reliable one. This increase in reliability is due to sub networks. In case of problem in one or more sub network, whole Computer Network can still be operational.
  • By employing this configuration you can take advantage of plus points of different Types of Network Topology. For example, due to inclusion of Ring Network, you have high assiduity of data transmission. Similarly, Star Network makes a sub network fault tolerant.
  • Flexibility is the main advantage. You can extend this Type of Network easily. In such Networks you have a lot of extension points. So, it is highly scalable. You can easily upgrade and downgrade Computer Network in accordance with user needs.


Disadvantages of Hybrid Topology
  • Backbone of a Hybrid Network is the major area of concern. Any damage or problem to the backbone will surely stop the Network operations.
  • Due to the use of multiple types of Network Devices, it is highly expensive to create, extend and manage.
  • Complexity is one of the major drawbacks of Network configured with this scheme. Sometimes troubleshooting requires great deal of expertise. A lot of Network Engineers feel problems even in establishing this Type of Topology.


1. Which topology is considered as hybrid topology?

A topology that is created by combining any two or more of basic types of topology creates a hybrid network. The Network, constructed in such a way represents a huge computer network with various topological structures participating in its construction.

2. Is tree topology a hybrid topology?

Yes, absolutely. You can refer tree network to as an example of hybrid topology network. But tell you one thing, the reverse of it is not true. You simply can`t say that a hybrid network is actually a tree network. This is because of the fact that a tree topology is formed by combining the characteristics of bus and star topology networks only.

3. What is an example of a hybrid network?

Any computer network that basically combines both physical and logical characteristics of two or more basic network topologies can be referred to as an example of hybrid network. You may have constructed such a network at your home or office. Apart from these, if you get a chance to visit data center of a large organization, then you might have a chance to look at live example of it.

4. What are the advantages of hybrid topology?

  • Super reliable and fault tolerant
  • Highly flexible and scalable
  • Robust

5. What are the hybrid topology disadvantages?

  • Expensive due to the use of variety of network devices and cable types
  • Extremely complex structure to create and manage

6. How hybrid topology works?

It works on the working mechanisms and protocols of constituent topology types. For example, if you have built a star ring hybrid network then there will not be a single working mechanism. Instead the network portion configured as star will be using working principles of star topology. On the other hand, the portion configured in the form of a ring topology will be using token ring mechanism for data transmission. But you should remember one thing. That is, each network node will have a unique IP address.

Additional Resources

In this section, I am providing some additional resources that might help you in developing further understanding of this topic. Although I have tried to cover a lot of things in this blog post. But its always good to have information from two or more sources. So, you can have a look at these too.

Download Hybrid Topology PDF File

Download Hybrid Topology PPT Slides

Final Words

Hybrid Topology being highly flexible, secure and reliable is in fact very costly to build. Moreover its complex structure poses problems for network engineers in establishment and management. But if you talk about its robustness, then let me tell you that its really robust and fault tolerant. I hope that you people might have liked and understood what I have told you. There is still a lot to come. Stay Tuned……………


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