network topology - Definition from the Hotspot Shield Glossary
A network topology in terms of computing is used to describe the layout and arrangement of a network. Networks can be complex and contain a large number of connecting devices - The amount of cabling, workspace and equipment needed means that a network should be planned beforehand and diagrams (topology) should be drawn up to enable a smooth implementation.
Topology can be described on two different levels - The physical topology i.e. how the devices are connected, and where they are situated in the working environment, and the logical topology which describes how data will travel through the various network paths. The physical topology of a network can be described in several different variants - Bus, Star, Token Ring, Ring, Mesh and Tree.