What are the differences between Physical and Logical Topology?

The network topology is a structure or the physical arrangement of the network devices, how the components of the network are interconnected with each other.

Types of network topology are as follows

  • Bus

  • Star

  • Ring

  • Mesh

  • Hybrid

Logical Topology

It tells about a network that should be configured for the transfer of information. This is different from physical topology as it does not explain the physical wiring of a network, but instead, it describes the flow of data, information, and back, from one system to another and the routes it takes.

Some examples of Logical topology are as follows −

  • Logical Star Topology − Uses logical bus topology to transfer data among devices.

  • Logical Ring Topology − One node is allowed to transfer data in a network at a time. This is implemented by using a token system so that only one is allowed at a time.

Physical Topology

A Physical topology explains about how network devices are physically connected or how devices are actually plugged into each other, for example cables, wireless connectivity and more.

It is a diagram which shows the structure of how devices are connected physically inside a network. It refers to how a network looks and functions.


The types of physical topology are as follows −

  • Linear Bus topology − A single wire cable that connects to all network nodes directly.

  • Star topology − It is a single access point topology; it means all nodes are connected directly at one point.

  • Tree topology − It is the combination of star and bus topologies. It has multiple access points that are connected to bus topology while others are connected to their respective access points.


The advantages of physical topology are as follows −

  • It is easy to maintain.

  • It is easy to install.

  • It is cost effective.

  • Its fault is easy to determine effectively.


The major differences between physical topology and logical topology are given below −

Physical Topology
Logical Topology
Physical Topology means the physical layout of the network.
Logical topology means how the network device layout will be shown and how the data will be transferred.
For example − Ring, Bus, Star, and Mesh.
For example − Ring and Bus.
In this topology, we are concerned with how data will be transferred from the actual path.
This topology is concerned with the high-level representation of the data transfer.
As per the requirement, we can modify the layout of the network.
There is no change accepted.
It can affect cost, bandwidth, scalability etc.
It can affect data delivery.
Types of physical topologies are star, mesh, bus, and ring.
Types of logical topologies are logical bus, and logical ring.
It is an actual route concerned with transmission.
It is a high level representation of data flow.
Physical connection of the network.
Data path followed on the network.