Network Model


The Network Model is a database architecture that represents data as objects and their relationships as links, forming a flexible, interconnected structure. It allows multiple relationships between different types of data, enabling efficient data retrieval and management. This model was an evolution from the hierarchical model, overcoming its limitations by offering greater flexibility in organizing and accessing data.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Network Model is a database model that represents data as nodes connected to each other through relationships, allowing for complex and more flexible hierarchies.
  2. It allows for multiple records to be linked by multiple relationship types, enabling easier data retrieval and manipulation than with the hierarchical model.
  3. Despite its flexibility, the network model can be more complex and difficult to manage compared to simpler models, such as the relational model, due to the intricacies of navigating the relationships between data nodes.


The Network Model is an essential concept in the realm of technology, as it serves as a fundamental framework for designing, implementing, and managing computer networks.

It not only provides a logical representation of how different devices, or nodes, interact within a network, but also allows for the organization and flow of data between these devices.

By utilizing a network model, communication and data exchange within computer systems are streamlined, enhancing the efficiency, reliability, and performance of these systems.

Additionally, network models have contributed significantly to the evolution of the internet, enabling seamless global connectivity and the sharing of valuable knowledge and resources.

As such, the Network Model morphs into an indispensable tool for businesses, organizations, and individuals alike who rely on these networks for daily operations and communication.


The purpose of the network model lies primarily in the representation and organization of meaningful relationships between data entities within a database system. Designed in the late 1960s as an alternative to the hierarchical model, its ability to handle complex data structures and multiple relationships provide an effective method for managing real-world applications.

Network models are widely used in a variety of sectors, such as telecommunications, business, and education, due to their ability to accommodate many-to-many relationships and to reduce data redundancy. In practical use, the network model serves as a blueprint for creating efficient data flow charts, allowing users to visualize the connections and associations between various data sets.

By employing sets and pointers, these models facilitate the navigation and traversal of large networks with ease, making them suitable for handling robust systems. As a result, organizations can establish strong inventory management procedures, monitor supply chain networks, and set up account management systems, ultimately streamlining their operations and allowing for improved decision-making processes.

Examples of Network Model

The Network Model is a database model that allows flexible relationships between different entities or records. Here are three real-world examples of the network model in action:

Airline Reservation System: In the airline industry, the network model can be used to represent the complex relationships that exist between various components, such as flights, passengers, routes, and reservations. In this system, flight records would link to a specific passenger through a reservation, which is related to a particular route. The system creates a network that can be navigated to access information efficiently.

Organizational Hierarchies: Network models are often used to depict the structure of organizations, representing the intricate connections between employees, departments, teams, and supervisors. Employees can be considered as entities and connected to departments or managers through a network. This model enables the organization to manage personnel efficiently, allowing for dynamic adjustments to the structure as needed.

Telecommunication Networks: The network model can be an effective way to represent the complex relationships between various elements within a telecommunications system. This includes elements such as equipment nodes, hubs, switches, and transmission lines. By using a network model to visualize and manage these connections, companies can optimize their operations and make routing and service decisions more efficiently.

FAQ: Network Model

What is a network model?

A network model is a database model that represents data in the form of a connected graph. In this model, data is stored in records which are connected to each other through links. The main purpose of a network model is to account for the relationships between entities in a more complex and flexible data structure than the hierarchical model.

What are the advantages of a network model?

Some advantages of a network model are:

  • Easy representation of complex relationships between entities
  • Better flexibility compared to the hierarchical model
  • Enhanced search capabilities due to the presence of multiple paths between records
  • Support for many-to-many relationships between entities

What are the disadvantages of a network model?

Some disadvantages of a network model are:

  • Complex structure and increased difficulty to manage
  • Increased database size due to the use of pointers in the record structure
  • Higher chances of data redundancy
  • Less suitable for ad-hoc queries or unstructured data

What are the components of a network model?

The main components of a network model are:

  • Records: The individual data entities that store the actual information
  • Links: The connections between records, representing the relationships
  • Sets: Collections of records and links that store a specific type of data and represent a specific type of relationship

How does the network model differ from the hierarchical model?

The main differences between the network model and the hierarchical model are:

  • Network model allows for many-to-many relationships, while the hierarchical model is limited to one-to-many relationships
  • Network model uses a more complex interconnected graph structure, while the hierarchical model follows a simpler tree structure
  • Network model can represent complex relationships more efficiently, while the hierarchical model struggles with this

What are some popular network model databases?

While network model databases are less popular than other types of databases, there are a few widely known systems, such as:

  • IDMS (Integrated Data Management System)
  • Raima Database Manager (RDM)
  • Jazz (an early predecessor to IBM’s DB2)

Related Technology Terms

  • Topology
  • Protocols
  • Network nodes
  • Data transmission
  • Network architecture

Sources for More Information


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