Wireless Network Topologies
Topology: The physical (real) or logical (virtual) arrangement of elements.
In our case, this refers to the arrangement of nodes (i.e. computers, network printers, servers, etc.) in which the network is connected. There are five major topologies in use today in wired networks: Bus, Ring, Star, Tree, and Mesh, but only two make sense in a wireless environment. These include the star and mesh topologies.
The star topology, which happens to be in widest use today, describes a network in which there is one central base station or Access Point (AP) for communication. The information packets transmitted by the originating node and are received by the central station and routed to the proper wireless destination node.
This station can then be a bridge to a wired LAN giving access to other wired clients, the Internet, other network devices, and etc. From our review system, Compex's SoftBridge program provides a "software bridge" to wired clients and services without specialized hardware or AP. With this software, any computer that is connected to the wired network and has a wireless Network Interface Card (NIC) can act as the bridge.
The mesh topology is a slightly different type of network architecture than the star topology, except that there is no centralized base station. Each node that is in range of one another can communicate freely.