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Ethernet Technology: What It Is, Types, and Ethernet Cables

Computer Network | Ethernet Technology: In this tutorial, we will learn about the ethernet, types of ethernet, and ethernet cables. By Mahima Rao Last updated : May 05, 2023

What is Ethernet?

The cable devices that connect the network devices in a local area network are called Ethernet. Ethernet cable technology is different from normal cables. It is mainly designed for data communication. Ethernet was developed by Xerox in the 1970s. At that time its speed was between 2 to 3 MB. The standard name of Ethernet is IEEE 802.3. Ethernet is a complete system that includes protocols besides cables. Protocols define how devices can communicate and transfer data through cables. Ethernet is a LAN technology by which you can connect computers and create a Local Area Network. In this technology, you use protocols to control the flow of information.

In Ethernet technology, you connect computers with the help of cables. Initially, coaxial cables were used in Ethernet Technology. But now twisted pair and fiber cables are also used. With Ethernet technology, you can build LANs in a variety of ways, called topology. Such as bus, star, ring and mesh topology etc. Cables have a very big role in Ethernet Technology. Let's tell you about the different types of cables used in Ethernet technology.

Types of Ethernet Cables

Three types of cables are used in Ethernet technology:

1. Coaxial Cable

This cable has a single wire which is surrounded by an insulator, metal shield, and plastic shell. The insulator controls the signal. The metal shield protects the wire from electromagnetic interference so that the signal cannot be destroyed in the middle. And the shell of plastic protects the shell from external obstructions such as water and fire. Coaxial cabling is mostly used for televisions.

2 types of coaxial cable are used:

  1. Thick net: This type of coaxial cable is slightly thick and shielding is also high. Thick net coaxial cables have been used for long distances. But these cables are not reliable. Vampire tap is used to connect such coaxial cables.
  2. Thin net: This type of coaxial cable is of normal size. These cables are more reliable in comparison to thick net cables. BNC connector is used to connect such coaxial cables.

2. Twisted Pair Cable

This is the most used cable in Ethernet technology. The pair of 2 or 4 copper wires in the Twisted pair cables is surrounded by a plastic shell. The pairs of copper wire are wrapped in one another so that there is no crosstalk. The crosstalk is an error that happens when the signal of a wire disturbs signal of the second wire.

Twisted pair cables are of 2 types:

  1. Shielded: Shielded twisted pair cable has a shield cover in the cable. These cables protect against electromagnetic interference.
  2. Un-shielded: Un-shielded twisted pair cable does not have any shield and it provides more protection than shielded twisted pair cable.

There are several categories of twisted pair cable. These bits are defined in on the base of how many twists are present in one inch

  • Cat3: This category has 3 twists in every inch of cable.
  • Cat5: This category cable has 5 twists in every inch.
  • Cat5e: In this category cable, there are 5 twists in every inch and pairs are also twist among themselves.
  • Cat6: This category cable has 6 twists in every inch.

3. Fiber Optic Cable

Coaxial cable and twisted pair carry data with the help of electronic signals. Whereas fiber optic cables carry data through light. Fiber optic cables have thin threads that look like thin wire. These wires are either plastic or are of glass.

Fiber optic cables have more bandwidth than other metal cables. This means that the cable can carry more data than the other cables. Fiber optic cables have a very less chance of damaging the signal. Fiber optic cables are thin and light compared to other cables.

Ethernet technology uses 2 types of fiber optic cables:

  1. Single mode fiber: Single mode fiber optic cables transfer only one data ray at a time.
  2. Multi mode fiber: Multi mode fiber optic cables can transfer multiple data rays at a time.

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