Internet of everything
Internet of everything

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Internet of everything

5.1.11 Physical topology

A network topology is a kind of map that identifies various elements of a computer network. A network is represented by two topology types: physical and logical.

Described image
Figure _unit5.1.6 Figure 6 Physical topology

The physical topology displays the layout and location of all of the devices that comprise the network. The physical topology describes how devices are actually interconnected with wires and cables, as shown in Figure 6.

This physical topology will change when mobile devices are incorporated into the network. Mobile devices require connectivity, regardless of their location, for access, monitoring, and control. Some sensors may be located beyond the range of traditional wireless solutions and it may be too expensive to connect them with data cabling. Cellular connections may be required to provide the necessary data links to controllers, central data storage or processing equipment.

The mobile devices must be represented in the physical topology. For wireless connectivity, an inspection, called a site survey, should be done to determine a basic, physical topology.

These are some considerations when determining a physical topology:

  • the location of user computers
  • the position of network equipment, such as switches, routers, and wireless access points
  • the position of controllers and servers
  • the position of sensors and actuators
  • the potential for future network growth.
Described image
Figure _unit5.1.7 Figure 7 Wireless site survey

Wireless access points must be strategically placed throughout the hospital to relay data. A wireless survey shows where the wireless access points can be located and the strength of the wireless signals, as shown in Figure 8. Wireless access points may be moved to distribute coverage, or additional access points may be installed where needed. The physical topology must be updated to reflect any devices that have been relocated or added.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus