Ethernet LAN overview, basic concepts, and fundamentals

Ethernet refers to a group of LAN standards that define physical and data-link layers of LAN technology. These standards include cabling, connectors, media type, protocols, and everything else you need to create an Ethernet LAN.

Differences between Ethernet and LAN

Although the terms Ethernet and LAN are used interchangeably, they are different. The term LAN defines the layout of a computer network that spans a small geographic area such as a building or office. The term Ethernet defines a technology that you can use to build and run a LAN. It was developed by Xerox between 1973 and 1974. It was introduced commercially in 1980 and first standardized by IEEE in 1983 as IEEE 802.3.

It provides high data transfer speeds and supports multiple nodes and long link distances. Over time, it replaced other competing wired LAN technologies such as Token Ring, FDDI, and ARCNET. Nowadays only Ethernet technology is used to build and run LAN networks. Because of this, it is common for administrators to refer to Ethernet and LAN together as Ethernet LAN.

Ethernet overview and fundamental

Rather than a single protocol or a standard, Ethernet refers to an entire family of standards and protocols. Some standards define the cable types you should use to transmit data at a particular speed. Some standards define the devices you need to connect cables. Some standards define the rules and protocols devices need to follow to be a part of an Ethernet LAN. Similarly, other standards define the other aspects of the network.

All Ethernet standards were defined by IEEE. IEEE used the number 802.3 as the beginning part of the standard name.

Today, Ethernet includes many standards for different kinds of media and speeds. For example, it includes standards for coaxial cable, copper cable, and fiber optic cable.

Different media types use different technologies to transmit data. For example, UTP cable uses copper wires and fiber optic cable uses glass to transmit data inside the cable. For both media types, Ethernet uses different standards.

key features of Ethernet

Following are the key features of the Ethernet.


Ethernet provides high data transfer speed. With current Ethernet standards and supporting devices, you can achieve up to 100 Gbps data transmission speed.


Ethernet supports a wide range of devices and operating systems. You can easily scale it to accommodate a large number of devices and users.


Ethernet is a reliable technology. It uses error detection and correction methods to ensure the data is transmitted accurately and efficiently.


Ethernet is easy to implement and manage. You can build a simple Ethernet LAN by using only Ethernet switches and routers.


Ethernet supports interoperability. Interoperability is a feature that allows devices from different manufacturers to communicate with each other seamlessly.


Ethernet supports many security features such as encryption and authentication for data safety and integrity.


Ethernet is easy to configure and manage. There are various tools and devices you can use to monitor and control an Ethernet network.


Ethernet is compatible with other network technologies such as Token Ring, Mesh, and FDDI. With supporting devices, you can easily connect an Ethernet LAN with another network.

ComputerNetworkingNotes CCNA Study Guide Ethernet LAN overview, basic concepts, and fundamentals