Network topology is the arrangement of the various elements (links, nodes, etc.) of a computer network. Essentially, it is thetopological structure of a network and may be depicted physically or logically. Physical topology is the placement of the various components of a network, including device location and cable installation, while logical topology illustrates how data flows within a network, regardless of its physical design. Distances between nodes, physical interconnections, transmission rates, or signal types may differ between two networks, yet their topologies may be identical.
An example is a local area network (LAN): Any given node in the LAN has one or more physical links to other devices in the network; graphically mapping these links results in a geometric shape that can be used to describe the physical topology of the network. Conversely, mapping the data flow between the components determines the logical topology of the network.
There are two basic categories of network topologies: physical topologies and logical topologies.
The cabling layout used to link devices is the physical topology of the network. This refers to the layout of cabling, the locations of nodes, and the interconnections between the nodes and the cabling. The physical topology of a network is determined by the capabilities of the network access devices and media, the level of control or fault tolerance desired, and the cost associated with cabling or telecommunications circuits.
The logical topology in contrast, is the way that the signals act on the network media, or the way that the data passes through the network from one device to the next without regard to the physical interconnection of the devices. A network's logical topology is not necessarily the same as its physical topology. For example, the original twisted pair Ethernet using repeater hubs was a logical bus topology with a physical star topology layout. Token Ring is a logical ring topology, but is wired as a physical star from the Media Access Unit.
The logical classification of network topologies generally follows the same classifications as those in the physical classifications of network topologies but describes the path that the data takes between nodes being used as opposed to the actual physicalconnections between nodes. The logical topologies are generally determined by network protocols as opposed to being determined by the physical layout of cables, wires, and network devices or by the flow of the electrical signals, although in many cases the paths that the electrical signals take between nodes may closely match the logical flow of data, hence the convention of using the termslogical topology and signal topology interchangeably.
Logical topologies are often closely associated with Media Access Control methods and protocols. Logical topologies are able to be dynamically reconfigured by special types of equipment such as routers and switches.
see more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_topology