The IEEE 802.3 standard defines ethernet
at the physical and data link layers of the OSI network model. Most
ethernet systems use the following:
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Carrier-sense multiple-access with collision detection (CSMA/CD)
for controlling access to the network media.
Use baseband broadcasts
A method for packing data into data packets called frames
Transmit at 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1Gbps.
Types of Ethernet
10Base5 - Uses Thicknet coaxial cable which requires a
transceiver with a vampire tap to connect each computer. There is a
drop cable from the transceiver to the Attachment Unit Interface
(AIU). The AIU may be a DIX port on the network card. There is a
transceiver for each network card on the network. This type of
ethernet is subject to the 5-4-3 rule meaning there can be 5 network
segments with 4 repeaters, and three of the segments can be
connected to computers. It uses bus topology. Maximum segment length
is 500 Meters with the maximum overall length at 2500 meters.
Minimum length between nodes is 2.5 meters. Maximum nodes per
segment is 100.
10Base2 - Uses Thinnet coaxial cable. Uses a BNC connector and
bus topology requiring a terminator at each end of the cable. The
cable used is RG-58A/U or RG-58C/U with an impedance of 50 ohms.
RG-58U is not acceptable. Uses the 5-4-3 rule meaning there can be 5
network segments with 4 repeaters, and three of the segments can be
connected to computers. The maximum length of one segment is 185
meters. Barrel connectors can be used to link smaller pieces of
cable on each segment, but each barrel connector reduces signal
quality. Minimum length between nodes is 0.5 meters.
10BaseT - Uses Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. Uses star
topology. Shielded twisted pair (STP) is not part of the 10BaseT
specification. Not subject to the 5-4-3 rule. They can use category
3, 4, or 5 cable, but perform best with category 5 cable. Category 3
is the minimum. Require only 2 pairs of wire. Cables in ceilings and
walls must be plenum rated. Maximum segment length is 100 meters.
Minimum length between nodes is 2.5 meters. Maximum number of
connected segments is 1024. Maximum number of nodes per segment is 1
(star topology). Uses RJ-45 connectors.
10BaseF - Uses Fiber Optic cable. Can have up to 1024 network
nodes. Maximum segment length is 2000 meters. Uses specialized
connectors for fiber optic. Includes three categories:
10BaseFL - Used to link computers in a LAN environment,
which is not commonly done due to high cost.
10BaseFP - Used to link computers with passive hubs to get
cable distances up to 500 meters.
10BaseFB - Used as a backbone between hubs.
100BaseT - Also known as fast ethernet. Uses RJ-45 connectors.
Topology is star. Uses CSMA/CD media access. Minimum length between
nodes is 2.5 meters. Maximum number of connected segments is 1024.
Maximum number of nodes per segment is 1 (star topology). IEEE802.3
100BaseTX - Requires category 5 two pair cable. Maximum
distance is 100 meters.
100BaseT4 - Requires category 3 cable with 4 pair. Maximum
distance is 100 meters.
100BaseFX - Can use fiber optic to transmit up to 2000
meters. Requires two strands of fiber optic cable.
100VG-AnyLAN - Requires category 3 cable with 4 pair. Maximum
distance is 100 meters with cat 3 or 4 cable. Can reach 150 meters
with cat 5 cable. Can use fiber optic to transmit up to 2000 meters.
This ethernet type supports transmission of Token-Ring network
packets in addition to ethernet packets. IEEE 802.12 specification.
Uses demand-priority media access control. The topology is star. It
uses a series of interlinked cascading hubs. Uses RJ-45 connectors.
The IEEE naming convention is as follows:
The transmission speed in Mbps
Baseband (base) or Broadband data transmission
The maximum distance a network segment could cover in hundreds of
Comparisons of some ethernet types. distances are in meters.
Min length between nodes
Max Segment length
Max overall length
Types of ethernet frames
Ethernet 802.2 - These frames contain fields similar to the ethernet
802.3 frames with the addition of three Logical Link Control (LLC) fields.
Novell NetWare 4.x networks use it.
Ethernet 802.3 - It is mainly used in Novell NetWare 2.x and 3.x
networks. The frame type was developed prior to completion of the IEEE 802.3
specification and may not work in all ethernet environments.
Ethernet II - This frame type combines the 802.3 preamble and SFD fields
and include a protocol type field where the 802.3 frame contained a length
field. TCP/IP networks and networks that use multiple protocols normally use
this type of frames.
Ethernet SNAP - This frame type builds on the 802.2 frame type by adding
a type field indicating what network protocol is being used to send data.
This frame type is mainly used in AppleTalk networks.
The packet size of all the above frame types is between 64 and 1,518 bytes.
Ethernet Message Formats
The ethernet data format is defined by RFC 894 and 1042. The addresses
specified in the ethernet protocol are 48 bit addresses.
The types of data passed in the type field are as follows:
0800 IP Datagram
0806 ARP request/reply
8035 RARP request/reply
There is a maximum size of each data packet for the ethernet protocol. This
size is called the maximum transmission unit (MTU). What this means is
that sometimes packets may be broken up as they are passed through networks with
MTUs of various sizes. SLIP and PPP protocols will normally have a smaller MTU
value than ethernet. This document does not describe serial line interface
protocol (SLIP) or point to point protocol (PPP) encapsulation.
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