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A daisy chain is a type of network topology that directs how network nodes – typically, computers – are linked. Different network topologies support objectives, like ease of use, persistence and fault tolerant design.
In a daisy chain, one network node is attached to the next in a line or chain. A daisy chain topology can be linear, where the first and last two nodes are not connected, or a ring, where the first and last nodes are connected. A ring topology allows for bidirectional passing, whereas in a linear setup, a message must go from one machine to another in one direction.
Generally less versatile, a linear daisy chain network setup is similar to an electrical series circuit, where one outage affects other connected items. A compromised network node can cut off any machines beyond that point. By contrast, a ring structure can send data in both directions, preventing one node failure from cutting off certain parts of the network.
Other network topologies involve a central hub that can pass messages to and from other nodes. An example is a star topology, which can handle multiple node outages without cutting off working machines.