Topmost Query in Networking for Beginners- What is Ethernet?

If you want to know about what is Ethernet, you must be aware of advanced technologies like Arduino development board, Raspberry pi and many more.  Ethernet is a standard communication protocol embedded in software and hardware devices. It is used for building a local area network. The local area network is a computer network that interconnects a group of computers and shares the information through cables or wires.

Wired Ethernet Network

The Ethernet technology mainly works with the fiber optic cables that connect devices within a distance of 10 km. The Ethernet supports 10 Mbps.

Ethernet communication
Ethernet communication

A computer network interface card (NIC) is installed in each computer, and is assigned to a unique address. An Ethernet cable runs from each NIC to the central switch or hub. The switch and hub act as a relay though they have significant differences in the manner in which they handle network traffic – receiving and directing packets of data across the LAN. Thus, Ethernet networking creates a communications system that allows sharing of data and resources including printers, fax machines and scanners.

Wireless Ethernet

Wireless Network
Wireless Network

Ethernet networks can also be wireless. Rather than using Ethernet cable to connect the computers, wireless NICs use radio waves for two-way communication with a wireless switch or hub. It consists of Ethernet ports, wireless NICs, switches and hubs. Wireless network technology can be more flexible to use, but also require extra care in configuring security.

Types of Ethernet Networks

There are several types of Ethernet networks, such as Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and Switch Ethernet. A network is a group of two or more computer systems connected together.

1. Fast Ethernet


Twisted pair cable
Twisted pair cable

The fast Ethernet is a type of Ethernet network that can transfer data at a rate of 100 Mbps using a twisted-pair cable or a fiber-optic cable. The older 10 Mbps Ethernet is still used, but such networks do not provide necessary bandwidth for some network-based video applications.

Fast Ethernet is based on the proven CSMA/CD Media Access Control (MAC) protocol, and uses existing 10BaseT cabling. Data can move from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps without any protocol translation or changes to the application and networking software.

What is Ethernet Port Speed?

When compare to a 10 mb port, a 100 Mb port is theoretically 10 times faster than the standard port. Therefore, with a 100 Mb port more information can stream to and from your server. This will be of great help to you if you really need to explore very high speed, but not if you are under DDOS attack because you will find yourself running out of traffic allocation very fast.

100Mbit/s Ethernet port
100Mbit/s Ethernet port

If you are doing standard web hosting, the bigger 100 Mbps pipe will not offer true benefit to you because you may not even use more than 1 mbps at any given time. If you are hosting games or streaming media, then the bigger pipe of 100 Mbps would indeed be helpful to you.

With a 10 mbps pipe, you can transfer up to 1.25 Mbps, while a 100 mbps pipe, would allow you to transfer up to 12.5 Mbps.

However, if you leave your server unattended and running at full steam, a 10 Mbps pipe can consume about 3,240 GB a month and a 100 Mbps pipe can consume up to 32,400 GB a month. It would be really disgusting when you receive your bill.

2. Gigabit Ethernet

Optic fiber cable
Optic fiber cable

The Gigabit Ethernet is a type of Ethernet network capable of transferring data at a rate of 1000 Mbps based on a twisted-pair or fiber optic cable, and it is very popular. The type of twisted-pair cables that support Gigabit Ethernet is Cat 5e cable, where all the four pairs of twisted wires of the cable are used to achieve high data transfer rates. The 10 Gigabit Ethernet is a latest generation Ethernet capable of transferring data at a rate of 10 Gbps using twisted-pair or fiber optic cable.

3. Switch Ethernet

Multiple network devices in a LAN require network equipments such as a network switch or hub. When using a network switch, a regular network cable is used instead of a crossover cable. The crossover cable consists of a transmission pair at one end and a receiving pair at the other end.

The main function of a network switch is to forward data from one device to another device on the same network. Thus a network switch performs this task efficiently as the data is transferred from one device to another without affecting other devices on the same network.

Switch Ethernet
Switch Ethernet

The network switch normally supports different data transfer rates. The most common data transfer rates include 10 Mbps – 100 Mbps for fast Ethernet, and 1000 Mbps – 10 Gbps for the latest Ethernet.

Switch Ethernet uses star topology, which is organized around a switch. The switch in a network uses a filtering and switching mechanism similar to the one used by the gateways, in which these techniques have been in use for a long time.

Alternate Technologies of Ethernet

The Ethernet supports different types of networks or topologies such a bus topology, ring topology, star topology, tree topology, and so on. These topologies can be used for transferring and receiving data using different types of cables like coax, twisted pair, fiber optic, etc.

Alternate technologies of Ethernet
Alternate technologies of Ethernet

Alternate technologies of Ethernet include the “Token Ring” protocol designed by IBM, and the robust Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) technology. ATM allows devices to be connected over very long distances to create WANs (Wide Area Networks) that behave like LANs. However, for an inexpensive network located in a single building, Ethernet is a well-established standard with a solid record, boasting over three decades of providing reliable networking environments.

Ethernet networking
Ethernet networking

The formal designation for standardization of Ethernet protocol is referred to as IEEE 802.3. A third subcommittee works on a flavor essentially identical to Ethernet, though there are insignificant variances. Consequently, generic use of the term “Ethernet” might refer to IEEE 802.3 or DIX Ethernet.

Different Types of Ethernet Cables

Different variants of Ethernet technologies are designated according to the type and diameter of the cables used as given below:

  • 10Base2: The cable used is a thin coaxial cable: thin Ethernet.
  • 10Base5: The cable used is a thick coaxial cable: thick Ethernet.
  • 10Base-T: The cable used is a twisted-pair (T means twisted pair) and the speed achieved is around 10 Mbps.
  • 100Base-FX: Makes it possible to achieve a speed of 100 Mbps by using multimode fiber optic (F stands for Fiber).
  • 100Base-TX: Similar to 10Base-T, but with a speed 10 times greater (100 Mbps).
  • 1000Base-T: Uses a double-twisted pair of category 5 cables and allows a speed up to one Gigabit per second.
  • 1000Base-SX: Based on multimode fiber optic uses a short wavelength signal (S stands for short) of 850 nanometers (770 to 860 nm).
  • 1000Base-LX: Based on multimode fiber optic uses a long wavelength signal (L stands for long) of 1350 nm (1270 to 1355 nm). Ethernet is a widely used network technology because the cost of such a network is not very high.
Types of Ethernet Cables
Types of Ethernet Cables

Top Features of Ethernet controller

  1. Includes 1st round “hop” to a Tier 1 provider
  2. Provides wholesale pricing for all types of businesses
  3. Connects directly to the carrier’s backbone
  4. Offers Service Level Agreements with every connection
  5. Provides low-cost bandwidth
  6. Provides higher rates of data transfer
  7. Offers ‘Plug and Play’ provisioning

Until now you might have understood what is Ethernet. You can now boast your understanding of the basic components involved in the internet service that are used frequently. However, in the meantime, a basic and simple question for you all- How can you use Ethernet in communication based projects?

Give your answer and feedback in the comment section given below.

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  1. Stefan Adam says:

    Thanks for a greatly well describing Ethernet networking cables. Their history, speed, evolution, feature, technologies, their work and how & why they used.

  2. Linksys Router Support says:

    Although this is very well discussed question all over the internet.
    But this blog consists of some other pointers as well. Very informative post

  3. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.

    Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I
    can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but
    I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips
    or suggestions? Cheers

  4. ginika ojukwu says:

    Good day,please I want to do a project on communication. I want to link to buildings wirelessly but don’t how how to go about it and the network device that i will use and the cost.Please help.Thanks and waiting for your reply

    1. Tarun Agarwal says:

      Hi Ginika Ojukwu,

      For more information related to communication projects please check out the link.
      Fo customization of projects please email us on

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