Updated: 03/01/2018 by Computer Hope

EthernetOriginally known as Alto Aloha Network, Ethernet is a widely used LAN (local-area network) protocol created at Xerox PARC in 1973 by Robert Metcalfe and others (U.S. Patent # 4,063,220). Being the first network to provide Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection (CSMA/CD), Ethernet is a fast and reliable network solution that is still widely used today.

Ethernet adapter

An Ethernet adapter or Ethernet controller is a term used to describe an Ethernet network card used to connect a desktop computer to a network. If you are looking for network adapter drivers, you can find them through our network drivers page.

How to connect an Ethernet cable

An image of a LAN port.Whether you're setting up your home network or connecting an Ethernet cable to your computer, the process is the same. Look for what appears to be a large telephone cord jack, similar to the image on the right. Once you've located it, push the cable connector into the port until you hear a click. If connected properly with a connection on the other end, a green light should appear to indicate a signal is found.

To disconnect the Ethernet cable, press down on the top tab and pull back gently on the connector.

Tip: When disconnecting the cable, always pull by the connector and not the cable.

Ethernet standards

Below is a listing of different standards of Ethernet and additional information about each of them.

Ethernet II / DIX / 802.3

Ethernet II is a revised version of Ethernet rewritten by with Digital Equipment Corp, Intel, and Xerox. Ethernet II, also known as DIX, (Digital, Intel, and Xerox) and 802.3.

Fast Ethernet / 100BASE-T / 802.3u

Fast Ethernet (100BASE-T or 802.3u) is a communications protocol for sharing data at rates of 100 million bits per second instead of the standard 10 million bps. Fast Ethernet works over category 5 twisted-pair wiring.

There are two available 100BASE-T standards. The first standard known as 100BASE-T utilizes CSMA/CD. The second standard, known as 100VG-AnyLAN or 802.12, is similar to the other standard; however, it utilizes a different Ethernet frame to send its data.

100BASE-T is available with three different cable technologies

  1. 100BASE-T4 = Utilizes four pairs of telephone-grade twisted-pair wire and is used for networks that need a low-quality twisted-pair on a 100-Mbps Ethernet.
  2. 100BASE-TX = Developed by ANSI 100BASE-TX is also known as 100BASE-X, 100BASE-TX uses two wire data grade twisted-pair wire.
  3. 100BASE-FX = Developed by ANSI, 100BASE-FX utilizes 2 stands of fiber cable.

Ethernet SNAP

Ethernet SNAP is short for Ethernet SubNetwork Access Protocol and is an Ethernet protocol that enabled old and new protocols to be encapsulated in a type 1 LLC.

Gigabit Ethernet / 1000BASE-T / 802.3z / 802.ab

Gigabit Ethernet is also known as 1000BASE-T or 802.3z / 802.3ab. It is a later Ethernet technology that utilizes all four copper wires in a category 5 (Cat 5 & Cat 5e) cable capable of transferring 1 Gbps.

10 Gigabit Ethernet / 802.3ae

10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GE or 10 GbE or 10 GigE) is also known as 802.3ae is a new standard that was published in 2002 and supports up to 10 Gb/s transmissions. 10 gigabit Ethernet defines only full duplex point to point links that are connected by network switches, unlike previous Ethernet standards. The half-duplex operation, CSMA/CD (carrier sense multiple access with collision detection) and hubs do not exist in 10 GbE.


The 1000BASE-CX is a copper cable gigabit Ethernet standard that is no longer used. This standard has been replaced by 1000BASE-T.


The 1000BASE-LX is a fiber optic gigabit Ethernet standard that operates over single-mode fiber.


The 1000BASE-SX is a fiber optic gigabit Ethernet standard that operates over multi-mode fiber with typical distances of up to 550 meters (1804 feet).

802 standards, Aloha, Cat5, CSMA/CD, Ethernet frame, Ethernet port, Hardware terms, IEEE, LAN, LLC, Network terms, PPPoE, Protocol, RJ-45