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Difference between Network Topology and Network Architecture

This is a question that we get time after time in comments and direct messages – it looks like that these 2 terms sometimes are confused, and in today’s post we decided to write our own opinion on this topic.


In our understanding difference between Network Topology and Network Architecture is mainly as follows:


  • By Architecture, we understand Layer Structures of network – Usually it will be or Three-Tier architecture including Core, Access and Distribution Layers


Example of Three Tier Network Architecture then will look something like this:




Example of Three Tier Network Architecture



Figure 1: Example of Three Tier Network Architecture




  • By Topology, we understand how network elements are connected with each other, within one Layer, or between Layers as well.


As an example of different network Topologies, we can mention Mesh, Star and Hybrid Topologies.




network toplogy star





Figure 2: Example of Network Topology: Star



We suggest learn more about Network Architectures in this article, and about Network Topologies in this article.




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