A variety of potential pathways for the synthesis of defined polymer networks were applied to (meth)acrylic acid based hydrogels and in-depth characterized. The anionic polymerization of a monomer and a bifunctional linker has been employed, as well as the utilization of efficient cross-linking procedures for the ligation of pre-formed telechelic polymers. The ligation techniques included the subsequent addition of a bifunctional monomer and the azide-alkyne Huisgen ligation. Reversible addition-fragmentation transfer polymerization was investigated as a complementary living polymerization procedure. The influence of the topology of the polymer networks on macroscopic properties were examined, such as the absorbency of sodium chloride solutions, the repulsion of salt during the swelling process and the mobility of ions within the network structure. In addition, 1H-NMR relaxometry, double quantum 1H-NMR and inverse size exclusion chromatography were employed to quantify the network architecture.