If you're looking to source vendor services for computer network systems, or you're trying to upgrade an in-house IT architecture, take a look at these common and popular network styles to figure out what's best for your particular business needs.

Networks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They're set up according to the customized needs of the company or other party using the system. Here are five of the most common types of setups for a successful, capable network.

Ring Topology

A ring topology has computers tied to one another in a circle. It's a lot like "Ring around the Rosie." All of the network stations "hold hands" and share a linear thread that goes around in a circle—all of them repeat an existing signal in one direction or another. This kind of multi-functionality is great, but one problem with the ring is that if just one computer blinks out, the network is compromised.

Ring topologies often use a "token" system to determine when it's time for a given station to pass on a signal. Learn more at TechTarget.

Tree Topology

Unlike some other kinds of network topologies, this one is strictly hierarchical. IT experts may talk about "parent" or "child" nodes, where one or more network points will branch off from existing roots and be dependent on that root. Some professionals find this type of network setup to be easier to test, but any changes to the root structure will have devastating effects on the parts of the network that are dependent on that higher-level node.

Star Topology

A star or hub topology means each computer would be connected directly into one central station, often called a hub or switch. Here, professionals may use the term "client/server," where the central hub responds to demands from the individually connected substations, its clients. Although the central hub is the single point of failure here, there is a consistency to the setup that pleases some IT managers.

Bus or Cable Topology

This is a linear kind of network topology where each station is interlinked into a single line. These are administrated a little bit differently and have their own pros and cons, including the need for maintenance of that common line. Check out some tips on cable or bus topologies at Teach-ICT.com.

All of the above are helpful strategies for building the right support for IT activities. Contact a group like PCCI for more information.