Ethernet Networks

Ethernet is by far and away the most popular physical medium for local area networks. Although there have been several kinds of cables, cable topologies, connectors, and speeds in Ethernet history, the basic hardware, protocol specification, and programming techniques have proved remarkably robust. Figure 5-3 on the next page shows the physical appearance of an Ethernet network.

Ethernet networks have always been cheap, but the unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) devices that gained popularity in the 1990s are now inexpensive almost to the point of absurdity. Many new computers (and devices such as video game consoles) have built-in Ethernet interfaces. Old twisted-pair networks operate at 10 megabits per second and are called 10Base-T ...

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