The Ethernet is a methodology and approach to how one goes about connecting computer devices, the cables used, and the organization followed in doing so. The best, well-known example is the local area network, or LAN. Another way of describing the Ethernet is how all the physical parts and wires of a network are put together to work as one system. However, an Ethernet is more than just a bunch of hardware connected to each other. There is a science to what part is used where so that, when done correctly, the network should be able to produce an expected standard performance of 10 megabits per second in data transfer. Other Ethernet formats and assemblies can produce greater metrics.
The Ethernet approach was formalized by the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers and is now commonly referred to as Standard 802.3. The protocol lays out in details how an Ethernet network is supposed to be constructed, the type of equipment and cabling used, and the sequence in its connections.
The reason why the basic Ethernet approach is so widely available is due to the fact that it doesn’t cost a great deal of money to implement, the data speed meets most computing needs, and it is easy to put together with minimal instruction and training. The model is so widely accepted in business and computing that a person or business can put together an Ethernet just about anywhere computer hardware is available. Further, the Ethernet approach works with all major network software programs, which makes it a highly versatile physical model whether a company wants a Linux-based platform or a familiar Windows NT environment.
Ethernet design has also been upgraded to produce faster data transport as well as the handle high demands of multi-purchase networks. Speed-wise, this upgraded approach reflected in Standard IEEE 802.3u makes the data transfer increase by 10 times to as much as 100 Megabits per second. This is commonly referred to as Fast Ethernet, and it can be implemented with very little in the way of hardware changes to an existing base Ethernet network. The difference in use, however, is readily noticeable in how well big data files like video can transfer and be seen without interruption of delays.
For businesses with the means and capability, fiber optic Ethernet is also another step up to yet more high-speed network performance. The most widely used version is the 100Base-TX approach. Unfortunately, this model is far less flexible and requires far greater planning up front before the network grid is physically built.
Finally, there is Gigabit Ethernet which again is a faster, larger data transport system and is commonly used to support Voice over Internet Protocol benefits, or VOIP. Technically referred to as 100Base-T, it runs 10 times faster than the highest level of regular Ethernet copper cabling at 100Base-T. The Gigabit Ethernet platform can be connected to a slower, regular Ethernet network, but they are not interchangeable at the part level.
According to AvaLAN Wireless, one of the key factors in implementing a long-lasting Ethernet system is to build with quality parts that have the potential to handle bigger demands in the future. Many companies have found out the hard way that by going cheap on their cabling up front they later one could not get their divisions to work properly or efficiently with new devices and tools that came online after the fact. Smart planning leans towards higher quality cabling, infrastructure and core devices such as top brand servers. This then allows the same company to later on upgrade and add newer technology down the line instead of having to perform a wholesale removal, reversal and replacement of existing wiring.