The network is like a tree that holds an organization strong. It connects all its branches and improves its life span. But like every tree is different, every organizational network, too, is defined uniquely. It is arranged on the basis of topologies.

Let me talk about this in detail. Topology is a broader term used to define how a network is connected and how information flows logically within the network. Topology mainly defines the structure of the network, how devices are interconnected, and the way they interact using communication links.

Out of all the physical topologies, there are two fundamental architectures: Star and mesh networking. These are the basic architectures denoted for IoT wireless networking.

Selecting the right IoT wireless network solution is difficult. One needs to pay attention to various factors such as range, rate, security, power consumption, complexity, security, and scalability. Organizations need to understand which topology is the most relevant for their IoT applications and requirements. This must be done before they choose or implement a communication technology.

In this blog, we will discuss star and mesh networking in detail and their distinct supporting factors.

Star Topology

This is one of the most common network setups. In this kind of topology, all nodes are connected directly or indirectly to a central network device like a switch, hub, or computer. Here, the switch becomes the central point from where all communications are passed. A star topology is typically used by large networks that are controlled by one or multiple servers. Usually, the client-server model uses this topology. However, peer-to-peer networks can also have a star network topology. Even though no single computer controls the network, all communications still pass through the central switch.

Below, we have listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of star topology.


  • All the nodes are separately connected and, therefore, a failure of one node or link will not affect any other node.
  • With the help of the switch, new nodes can be added to the network.
  • Star network topologies tend to have higher performance as a message is passed to its intended recipient only.


  • If the switches fail, the whole network fails because no node will be able to communicate.
  • A wired star topology requires plenty of cables, and in the case of large networks, this can be expensive.

In use

Star topologies are mostly found and used by large organizations such as educational institutes and MNCs, where high performance and unbreakable connectivity are a must. They are also the go-to topology for home networks, especially wireless ones. In that case, a router with a Wireless Access Point (WAP) provides a central connection for all the nodes.

Now that we have enough knowledge about star topology, let’s get some insights on mesh topology and make a valid comparison.

Mesh Topology

In the case of mesh topology, there is no central point connection. Instead, each node is connected to at least one other node, usually to more than one. Every node is capable of sending and receiving messages from other nodes. They all have the capacity to pass on the message to its destination. There are majorly two types of mesh topology.

They are –

  • Full mesh topology
  • Partial mesh topology

In the case of full mesh topology, all the nodes are connected to each other. This enables a message to be sent along many individual routes. On the other hand, with partial mesh topology, not all of the nodes are connected directly to one another. A partial mesh has fewer routes for a message to travel, whereas a full mesh allows easily passing of any message.

Below, we have listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of star topology.


  • Messages can be received more quickly if the route to the recipient is very small.
  • The chances are that message will reach the destination as there are many routes to travel.
  • Multiple connections mean that there no node remains isolated.
  • It is easy to add newer nodes without interruptions or interference with other nodes.


  • It can be impractical to set up because it requires a high number of connections.
  • Also, when so many connections are needed, it comes with a greater amount of maintenance.

In use

Mesh topology networks are used where networks should be highly reliable. Military organizations often use mesh topologies to eliminate communication problems. They are also used to control traffic issues, sewage problems, and street lighting. Public or emergency services, such as police and fire services, also use wireless mesh networks as it comes with reliable communication.

How to decide?

The answer is simple; it depends on which IoT application you are using.

Mesh topology is a great solution to extend the reach of legacy Wi-Fi networks without the need for sophisticated network management. It can also be used to provide high-quality audio and video calls to various applications. High bandwidth usage in many consumers applications like video calls and streaming, voice control, etc. makes mesh more feasible when your focus is towards an integrated home network.

On the other hand, star topology is the best solution if you want to connect a number of sensors distributed across geographies and various facilities such as mines, factories, and commercial buildings. It provides a reliable, cost-effective, and easy way to implement the solution. Configuring and optimizing mesh networks can be a daunting task in such cases.

It is recommended to look within your system, understand all supporting factors, calculate the advantages and disadvantages of each, and then decide which type of networking is suitable.