# difference between a network and a circuit

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by PG1995, May 2, 2011.

1. ### PG1995 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

Apr 15, 2011
805
5
Hi

The book says:
Since the elements of an electric circuit can be interconnected in several
ways, we need to understand some basic concepts of network topology. To
differentiate between a circuit and a network, we may regard a network as
an interconnection of elements or devices, whereas a circuit is a network
providing one or more closed paths. The convention, when addressing
network topology, is to use the word network rather than circuit. We
do this even though the words network and circuit mean the same thing
when used in this context. In network topology, we study the properties
relating to the placement of elements in the network and the geometric
configuration of the network. Such elements include branches, nodes,
and loops.

A network with b branches, n nodes, and l independent loops will
satisfy the fundamental theorem of network topology: b = l + n-1

Could you please give me some simple explanation on distinction between a network and a circuit? It would kind of you.

Regards
PG

2. ### StayatHomeElectronics AAC Fanatic!

Sep 25, 2008
1,022
70
It doesn't sound like the author of the book is that convinced about a difference between the two...

3. ### ifixit Distinguished Member

Nov 20, 2008
646
113
Examples...
• A road is a circuit that carries vehicles from point A to point B. A city contains a network of roads that connect all points within the city to each other.
• A datalink is an electric circuit that connects one point to another point. The internet contains a network of many datalinks that connects any point to any point.
Can you think of some more examples?

An audio amplifier contains many separate electricial circuits inter-connected together to form an amplication function, but the collection of circuits is not considered a to be a network of circuits because only electrons move between them.

A network has more to do with inter-connection of information paths than electron paths. If the internet only carried electrons and no meaningful information, then it wouldn't be called the internet, it would be called the interconnect.

Regards,
Ifixit

Jack Puddin and PG1995 like this.
4. ### BillO Distinguished Member

Nov 24, 2008
993
137
Network is a more general term than circuit.

A circuit is one type of network.

Every Circuit is a network.

There are some networks that are not circuits.

5. ### nsaspook AAC Fanatic!

Aug 27, 2009
3,606
3,738
The old school (pre-internet) difference:

A circuit was the direct flow of information from one point to the other and a network was composed of a system of circuits for interconnecting other circuits. A single circuit connection to many points would be a broadcast network. The circuit connection point to a network was called a node.

A typical circuit could be on a HF point to point link to a receiver station, then to a microwave frame-relay network node sending to a distant station node and then a point to point land-line circuit to the endpoint.

The complete source to endpoint route would be assigned a circuit ID. If a transmission path in the middle changed but the endpoints stayed the same the circuit ID would be the same.