In a ring topology, each computer is connected to the next computer, with the last one connected to the first. Rings are used in high performance networks where large bandwidth is necessary in time sensitive features such as video and audio. Every computer is connected to the next computer in the ring and each retransmits what it receives from the previous computer hence the ring is an active network.

The message flows around the ring in one direction. There is no termination because there is no end to the ring. Some ring networks do token passing. A short message called as a token is passed around the ring until a computer wishes to send information to another computer. That computer modifies the token, adds an electronic address and data and sends it around the ring.

Each computer in sequence receives the token and the information and passes them to the next computer until either the electronic address matches the address of a computer or the token returns to its origin. The receiving computer returns a message to the originator indicating that the message has been received.

Ring Topology

The sending computer then creates another token and places it on the network, allowing another station to capture the token and begin transmitting. The token circulates until a station is ready to send and capture the token. Faster networks circulate several tokens at once.

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