Ethernet is a technology that connects wired local area networks (LANs) and enables the device to communicate with each other through a protocol which is the common network language.[1] This LAN is a network of computers and other electronic devices which covers a small area in your places like in the office, house, room or building. Unlike LAN, wide area network (WAN) covers much larger geographical areas. Furthermore, Ethernet is a protocol that controls the processes on how the data is transmitted through LAN. It also indicates how the network devices can transmit and format data packets so that the other network devices in the same area network segment can be able to receive, process and recognize them.

Any other devices with access to a geographically localized network by the use of a cable such as with wire rather than a wireless connection most likely use Ethernet whether at home, office or a school setting. However, these physical cables have an only limited distance that they can totally stretch and carry enough signals through their durability. This is the reason why there are different types of Ethernet cables used to perform a particular task in a certain situation.[2]The following are the different types of Ethernet cables:

  • 10Base2 – thin Ethernet
  • 10Base 5 – thin Ethernet
  • 10Base-T – Twisted-pair cable and can achieve a speed of 10 Mbps
  • 100Base-FX- this makes possible in achieving a speed of 100 Mbps through multimode fiber optic.
  • 100Base-TX- similar to twisted-pair cable but with a 10 times greater speed.
  • 1000Base-T- double twisted-pair cable of category 5 cables that allows a speed up to one Gigabit per second.
  • 1000Base-SX- this is based on multimode fiber optic that uses a short wavelength signal of 850 nanometers.
  • 1000Base-LX – this is also based on multimode fiber optic but uses a long wavelength signal.

Ethernet Networks

The following are the different types of Ethernet networks:

Fast Ethernet

This is a type of Ethernet network that can transmit data at a rate of 100 Mbps through a twisted-pair cable or fiber-optic cable. The data can be transferred from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps with no protocol translation or changes in the application and networking software.

Gigabit Ethernet

This is a type of Ethernet network that has the capability to transfer data at a rate of 1000 Mbps based on a twisted-pair cable or fiber-optic cable. Among other types of Ethernet cable, this is the most popular one.

Switch Ethernet

This is a piece of network equipment that is required for multiple network devices in a LAN. In using this type of cable, a regular network cable shall be used instead of a crossover cable. This Ethernet cable forwards the data from one device to another device with the same network. Normally, this supports different data transfer rates. Ethernet is widely used as a network technology due to the fact that the cost of such a network is not too high.[3]


In order to fully understand the mechanism behind the Ethernet protocol, it requires technical knowledge and information of computer science. For example, if a machine on a network wants to send data to another device, it senses the carrier that is the main wire connecting all the devices. If no one is sending anything or if it is free, it sends the data packet on the network including all other devices and checks the packet to see if they are the recipient. This recipient consumes the packet. If the is already on the highway, the device that wants to send stays back for some thousands of second to try again until it can send.[4]

Moreover, there are also limitations of Ethernet cables. An Ethernet cable like an electric power cord features a maximum distance capacity, this means that the cable has an upper limit as to how long it runs before signal loss affects the performance. The ends of the cable must be close enough to each other to receive the signals faster but they must also be away from electrical interference in order to avoid interruptions. For both Ethernet and internet, in using the Ethernet network, the network’s router also serves as a bridge to the internet. Through the router, it connects to the modem that carries internal signal, sends and receives data packet request and routing them to other computers on the network. Even if the network is not used, for most cases the computer will connect to the modem through an Ethernet cable.[5]


Between the year of 1973 and 1974, the Ethernet was developed by Xerox Corporation at their Palo Alto Research Center in California (PARC). The idea was documented in a memo that was written by Metcalfe in 1973 where he coined it after the luminiferous aether once postulated to exist as an omnipresent, completely-passive medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves. Ethernet competed with Token Ring and other proprietary protocols. With this, it was able to adapt to market realities and shift to inexpensive thin coaxial cable and then ubiquitous twisted pair writing. On the year 1980, Ethernet was clearly the dominant network technology.

Since then, this Ethernet technology has evolved to meet new bandwidth and market requirements. Now, Ethernet is used to interconnect appliances and other personal devices. By the year 2010, Ethernet’s equipment market amounted to over $16 billion per year.

Common Issues and Solutions

Some of the people may lose some mobility if they only go with Ethernet because most mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and portable gaming are Wi-Fi. That is why most setups of LAN include additional Wi-Fi connectivity. After all, the choice to switch to Ethernet depends to a person’s needs, preferences and budget. For those houses that use the internet for HD streaming, dual-band Wi-Fi router is needed. However, if there is a need to maintain the spot on a leaderboard for online games or run a business where online stability and profit go together then Wi-Fi has not killed the wire yet.[6]

  1. https://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/Ethernet ↩︎

  2. https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-an-ethernet-cable-817548 ↩︎

  3. https://www.elprocus.com/what-is-ethernet-and-different-types-of-ethernet-networks/ ↩︎

  4. https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-ethernet-3426740 ↩︎

  5. https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how-to-install-a-network-switch ↩︎

  6. https://www.linksys.com/us/r/resource-center/whats-ethernet/ ↩︎