What Is Ethernet

2021-09-27
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Summary: In this post, we will introduce you to some necessary information about Ethernet, including concepts, working principles, types, and advantages and disadvantages and so on.

What Is Ethernet?

What is ethernet? Ethernet refers to a traditional local area network (LAN) technology, which is commonly used to connect a series of devices in a wired local area network (LAN), making them communicate with each other through a protocol (a set of rules or a common network language).

Ethernet indicates how network devices format and transmit data so that other devices in the same area network segment can recognize, receive, and process information. An Ethernet cable is the physical, enclosed wiring over which data passes.

How Does Ethernet Work?

Engineers at Xerox first developed Ethernet in the 1970s. Its original transmission medium is a coaxial cable. Nowadays typical Ethernet LANs use special grade twisted-pair cables or optical fiber cables. Coaxial cable as an early transmission medium has gradually been phased out.

Ethernet was designed in an era of shared communication channels. In this model, multiple devices share a cable connection to transmit data. To handle the shared use of a single channel, Ethernet uses the carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) protocol to control which device is allowed to send traffic, and when.

When two devices sharing a channel try to transmit data at the same time, the data packets may collide and cause connection problems.

According to CSMA/CD protocol, devices check whether a given line is in use before starting a new transmission. At the same time, devices monitor the line while sending data. If there is an interference signal detected in the line, which means there is a conflict, devices will cancel the sending.

Why Use Ethernet?

Ethernet is used to connect devices in the network and is still a popular form of network connection. For local networks used by specific organizations (such as corporate offices, school campuses, and hospitals), Ethernet is used for its high speed, security, and reliability.

Ethernet originally became popular because of its low price. With the development of network technology, Ethernet can continuously develop and provide higher speed and performance levels, while maintaining backward compatibility. Thus Ethernet secures its status in internet technology.

Types of Ethernet

Generally speaking, Ethernet is divided into three types based on speed: Standard Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and Switched Ethernet.

Standard Ethernet

Standard Ethernet refers to the earliest Ethernet, which has only 10 Mbps handling capacity. Its main transmission mediums are twisted-pair cables and coaxial cables.

Fast Ethernet

This is a type of Ethernet that can transmit data at a rate of 100 Mbps through twisted-pair cables or fiber optic cables. Fast Ethernet has the auto-negotiation function, which automatically adapts to the highest available communication rate at both ends of the cable, and can easily communicate with Standard Ethernet connections.

Gigabit Ethernet

This type of Ethernet transmits data at an even higher speed of about 1000 Mbps or 1Gbps. Gigabit technology is still Ethernet technology, so Gigabit Ethernet works well with Standard or Fast Ethernet. Among all types of Ethernet, this Ethernet is the most popular one.

10-gigabit Ethernet

To get the speed of roughly 10 Gbps, you’ll need a Cat6a, Cat7 twisted pair cable, or other fiber optic cables. Although this type of Ethernet is not yet as widely popular as Gigabit Ethernet and Fast Ethernet, it will become gradually used in the years to come.

Advantages

  1. The cost is relatively inexpensive compare to other network technology.
  2. Maintenance and administration are simple.
  3. As it is robust to the noise, the quality of the data transfer is relatively good.
  4. With Ethernet, the network connection will remain steadfast so long as the cable is working and plugged in.
  5. Ethernet doesn’t allow devices to access its data and devices without connecting to the LAN. So Ethernet connection is also relatively secure.

Disadvantages

  1. It is applied for smaller and shorter distance networks.
  2. Using longer cables will cause crosstalk.
  3. It is not suitable for voice and video traffic.
  4. After receiving a packet, the receiver doesn’t send any acknowledgment.
  5. If there is any problem with Ethernet, it is difficult to troubleshoot which cable or node causes the problem.

Internet VS Ethernet

Both Ethernet and Internet belong to types of networks that are used to connect computers. However, they are actually two very different conceptions.

In terms of connection range, the Internet is more extensive. Ethernet is a term for a local area network (LAN), while the Internet is the term for the worldwide network (WAN) that connects all computer systems.

Ethernet and the Internet are also different in terms of network management. Ethernet can have two or more administrators, depending on its size. Although the administrators can only control and manage a small part of the Internet, yet no one can control the entire network.

In addition, Ethernet only allows one communication at a time, Whereas the Internet allows multiple communications to take place concurrently along its different paths.

Conclusion

Despite its disadvantages and limitations, Ethernet is still a very promising network technology today. Hope this post can help you understand more about Ethernet.

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