mesh topology

Definition of mesh topology in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is mesh topology?

A network topology in which additional networking components are used to provided redundant data paths. This topology provides fault tolerance - if a wire, hub, switch, or other component fails, data can travel along an alternate path.

A diagram of a mesh network might resemble a portion of a fishing net. A mesh topology is most often used in large backbone networks in which failure of a single switch or router can result in a large portion of the network going down. Mesh networks can use the following topologies:

  • Full mesh topology:
    Provides a direct link between each pair of nodes (routers) on the backbone network. Full mesh topologies provide the highest level of fault tolerance but increase the computational strain on dynamic routers for calculating their routing tables. A full mesh network with N routers would have N factorial paths (1 x 2 x 3 x … x N) to calculate.


  • Partial mesh topology:
    Includes some redundant data paths to provide some level of fault tolerance. This is the more usual implementation in large internetworks.

    Graphic M-8. Typical mesh topology of networks connected by routers.