What is an Ethernet?
Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks (LANs). Ethernet was commercially introduced in 1980 and standardized in 1985 as IEEE 802.3. Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies such as token ring, FDDI, and ARCNET.
The Ethernet standards comprise several wiring and signaling variants of the OSI physical layer in use with Ethernet. The original 10BASE5 Ethernet used coaxial cable as a shared medium. Later the coaxial cables were replaced with twisted pair and fiber optic links in conjunction with hubs or switches. Data rates were periodically increased from the original 10 megabits per second to 100 gigabits per second.
Systems communicating over Ethernet divide a stream of data into shorter pieces called frames. Each frame contains source and destination addresses and error-checking data so that damaged data can be detected and re-transmitted. As per the OSI model Ethernet provides services up to and including the data link layer.
Since its commercial release, Ethernet has retained a good degree of compatibility. Features such as the 48-bit MAC address and Ethernet frame format have influenced other networking protocols.