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Ethernet

A popular type of networking technology for local area networks developed by Xerox back in the 1970’s. It allows computers, printers, and other devices to be connected together forming a network where they have access to one another. It works by breaking data into small “packets” and sends them through cables as radio frequency signals. Over the years there have been many developments and advances in Ethernet technology, the most noticeable of which have provided increased speeds. Terms like “Fast Ethernet” and “Gigabit Ethernet” among others are sometimes used to describe speed capabilities with varying degrees of precision. There is also a commonly used protocol to describe Ethernet wiring. Ethernet cables are classified in an XbaseY form, where the X denotes the data rate; “base” means baseband. (Baseband, as opposed to broadband, means there is only one data channel, and the entire bandwidth of the cable is devoted to that single channel. Everything on that cable [transmitted or received] must use that one channel, which is very fast. All attached devices [printers, computers, and databases] share by taking turns using the same cable). The Y denotes the category of cabling. The letter T means twisted pair, whereas an F means fiber optic. So, for example, when you see a term like 10base-T, that means 10 megabits per second, baseband twisted pair cable. 100base-T means 100 megabits per second, baseband, twisted pair, and 1000base-F means gigabit, baseband, fiber optic cable.

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