What is Ethernet?

January 9, 2016 by afaqahmad

Filed under Introduction to Ethernet

Last modified June 2, 2016

What is Ethernet?

Introduction to Ethernet

What is Ethernet

Since several decades, Ethernet has proven to be a relatively inexpensive, reasonably fast, and very popular LAN technology. This tutorial explains the basic functionality of this technology and how it can be used in home and business networks.


Engineers Bob Metcalfe and D.R. Boggs developed the beginning in 1972. Industry standards based on their work was established in 1980 under the IEEE 802.3 set of specifications.

Its specifications with low-level data transmission protocols and the technical details manufacturers need to know to build the products like cards and cables.

This technology has developed and matured over a long period of time. The average consumer can generally use off-the-shelf Ethernet products to work as designed, and work together.


Traditional technology supports data transfer speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps). The performance requirements of networks increased over time, the industry created additional specifications for Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. Fast Ethernet extends traditional performance to 100 Mbps and Gigabit Ethernet up to 1000 Mbps speeds. Although the products are not available to the average consumer, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10000 Mbps) also exist and are used in some corporate networks and the Internet 2.

These cables are also manufactured according to any of the various standard specifications. The most popular cable in current use, Category 5 or CAT5 cable, supports both traditional and Fast Technology.

The Category 5e (Cat5e) cable and CAT6 supports Gigabit Ethernet.

Connect the cables to a computer (or another network device), a person plugs a cable directly to the port of the device. Some devices without Ethernet support can also support its connections via dongles, including USB-to-Ethernet adapters.

These cables use connectors used are very similar to the RJ-45 connector with traditional phones.

For students: In the OSI model, This technology operates at the physical and data link layers – Layers One and Two respectively. This Technology supports all popular network protocols and parent, especially TCP / IP.


Often referred to as Thicknet, 10Base5 was the first incarnation of this technology. The industry used Thicknet in the 1980s appeared to 10Base2 Thinnet. Compared to Thicknet, Thinnet offered the advantage of thinner (5 mm vs. 10 mm) and flexible cabling, making it easier to wire for Ethernet office.

However, the most common form of the traditional part was 10Base-T. 10Base-T provides better electrical properties than Thicknet or Thinnet because 10Base-T cables to use unshielded twisted pair (UTP) wiring instead of coax. 10Base-T also proved more cost effective than alternatives such as fiber optic cables.

Plenty of other lesser-known standards exist, including 10Base-FL, 10Base-FB, and 10Base-FP for fiber-optic networks and 10Broad36 broadband (cable TV) cabling. All the above traditional forms, including 10Base-T, have been overtaken by Fast and Gigabit Ethernet.

More about the Fast Ethernet:-

In the mid-1990s, Fast Ethernet technology matured and design goals are met by a) increasing the performance of the traditional part, while b) avoiding the need to fully re-cable existing networks. Fast Ethernet comes in two main types:

100Base-T (using unshielded twisted pair cable)
100Base-FX (with the aid of fiber-optic cable)
By far the most popular of which is 100Base-T, a standard 100Base-TX (Category 5 UTP), 100Base-T2 (Category 3 or better UTP) and 100Base-T4 (100Base-T2 cabling modified two further comprise including wire pairs).

More about Gigabit Ethernet:-

While Fast technology improved traditional of 10 megabits and 100 Megabit speed, Gigabit Ethernet has the same order of magnitude improvement over Fast Technology by offering a speed of 1000 Megabits (1 Gigabit). Gigabit Technology was first made to travel through optical and copper cables, but the 1000Base-T standard supports successfully too. 1000Base-T uses category 5 cabling Similar 100Mbps, although achieve gigabit speed requires extra pairs.

Topologies and protocols:-

The traditional technology uses a bus topology, which means that all the devices or hosts on the network use the same shared communication line. Each device has an alternate address, also known as an MAC address. Sending devices addresses of the recipient of the messages specify.

Data via this technology exists in the form of frames. An Ethernet frame contains a header, a data section and a footer with a total length of up to 1518 bytes. The header contains the addresses of both the intended recipient and the sender.

Data transmitted automatically to all devices in the network. By comparing the address to determine the address in the frame header, each device tests each frame whether it is for him and reads or rejects the frame suitable. Network Adapters to include this feature in their hardware.

Devices like to send to the first performing a first check to determine whether the medium is available, or that a transmission is currently running. If the connection is available, the sending device transmits on the wire. However, it is possible that two devices to perform this test at about the same time transmit simultaneously.

By design, if a performance trade-off, not prevents the standard that multiple simultaneous transmission. These so-called collisions, when they occur, cause both transmissions to fail and both transmitting devices resend. It uses a random algorithm to determine lag times for the proper time between re-transmissions. The network also carries this algorithm.

In traditional technology, this protocol for broadcasting, listening, and detecting collisions known as CSMA / CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection). Some newer forms of non-Ethernet CSMA / CD used. Instead, they use the so-called full-duplex protocol supports point-to-point simultaneously sends and receives with no listening required.

Moreover Ethernet devices:-

As mentioned earlier, These cables are limited in their range, and which distances (as short as 100 meters) are insufficient to medium and large network installations. A repeater network is a device that allows multiple cables to be joined and greater distances to be bridged. A bridge device can participate in a network to another network of a different type, for example, a wireless network. A popular type of repeater device is an Ethernet hub. Other devices sometimes confused with hubs are switches and routers.

Its Network adapters also exist in multiple forms. Newer personal computers and game consoles feature a built-in adapter. USB to Ethernet adapters and wireless adapters can also be configured to work with many newer devices.


This Technology is one of the most important technologies of the Internet. Despite his advanced age, it remains much of the world of local networks of power and constantly improve the future needs for high-performance networking requirements.

1 Comment

  1. Good article

    July 27, 2016 - 10:11 am – Reply

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