How Does Ethernet Work?

How does Ethernet work and why has it become the accepted standard for most local area networks? Learn more about Ethernet below.

Initially using co-axial cables, it has evolved to use twisted pair or wireless connections. Ethernet adaptors are now installed as standard in most computers, allowing them to connect to other machines via a router or hub to become part of a network.

Who Invented the Ethernet?

Ethernet was invented by the Xerox Corporation in the early 1970s with the intention of connecting large numbers of computers together. In 1979, one of the engineers behind it left to form his own company (3Com) with the intention of commercialising Ethernet technology. Ethernet emerged from the era of flared trousers and kipper ties into the 1980s and began its journey to the mainstream with 3Com’s launch of a network card for the IBM PC in 1982.

Evolution of Ethernet speeds

Ethernet speeds have increased over the years from the 10 Mbps (10Base-T) of the early years to the latest 1000Base-T systems offering gigabit connections. Ethernet works by dividing up data into ‘packets’ which are surrounded by a ‘frame’ that defines where the data is going and also includes information to allow it to be error checked to ensure it hasn’t become corrupted in transit.

how does ethernet work-co-axe cableAlthough down the years there have been a number of new networking technologies being touted as replacements for Ethernet, the technology doggedly persists. This is partly because, being so widely used, it offers low costs and flexibility. Having started with bulky co-axe connections, it now uses simple, standardised, twisted pair cables. These are divided into categories such as CAT5 and CAT6, the performance increases as you progress up through the standards. Cables can be shielded to protect them from crosstalk or to prevent interference in electrically ‘noisy’ environments.

Backwards compatibility

Ethernet has also retained backwards compatibility, so older devices can still connect to the latest networks, albeit without being able to take advantage of faster speeds. Learn more about how fast Ethernet is.

So much for the Ethernet definition. As the technology has become almost ubiquitous for networks, it’s also become entrenched in today’s infrastructures. The technology used to send data around the internet works in very much the same way, so it’s not surprising that Ethernet can also be used to provide fast internet connections.

How does Ethernet provide an internet connection?

An Ethernet internet connection provides a direct link between your premises and the data centre of your ISP. Effectively, you are extending your network to link up with the internet. It’s important to note that this is a completely private link. This has the advantage over broadband – which becomes a shared connection once it leaves your house or office – in that you’re not competing with other people for bandwidth. This means it can offer more consistently reliable speeds. In internet terms, this means that there is no contention.

Upload speeds same as downloads

Using Ethernet also means that the bandwidth available is the same in both directions. Again, this has the edge over broadband which is asynchronous – in other words, there’s more bandwidth available for incoming data than there is for outgoing.

How is Ethernet delivered to businesses?

How then does an Ethernet-based internet connection get to your business? The delivery methods are pretty similar to those used for broadband. The most common is for a fibre signal to arrive at a street cabinet and then continue to your business by whatever existing cable is in place. Ethernet over Fibre to the Cabinet (EoFTTC) can offer speeds of up to 20 Mbps. This may not seem much better than broadband, but you have to bear in mind the advantages we’ve outlined above. Learn more about EoFTTC deals.

Larger businesses opt for faster connections

Larger businesses and those that rely more heavily on the internet may opt for a fibre internet leased line. This provides a fibre connection all the way from your business to the data centre of the ISP. Speeds here are much faster, up to 10 Gbps, although lead times and costs are obviously higher. Leased Line work with the leading providers to provide businesses with the best deals, and can even offer BT leased line.

If you’re in an area where there is no fibre availability, you can still benefit from an Ethernet connection. This is thanks to Ethernet First Mile (EFM) which combines copper cabling and signal processing technology to deliver up to 35 Mbps speeds on conventional telephone networks.

If you have a business that operates on several different sites, you can also get an Ethernet leased line as a point-to-point connection.

This allows you to establish a fast wide area network (WAN) to meet your business needs. If your business operates from multiple sites, have you considered opting for a SD-WAN deal?

If you want to learn more about the future of wide area networking and how your business can benefit from it – Call Now: 0115 697 8520

The business benefits of Ethernet

So much for the technology of Ethernet. But how does using it to connect to the internet help your business? Many of our current computing needs are no longer met by systems running on in-house servers but are run from the cloud instead. As-a-service applications are available for pretty much any needs, and enterprises are realising the benefit of using IP-based systems for their voice communications.

how does ethernet work-Ethernet-serverTo reap the full benefits of this plethora of web-based services, it becomes absolutely essential that you have a reliable, fast connection. Switching to Ethernet gives you this reliability, together with consistent speeds. So your applications will be available when you need them and – thanks to synchronous speeds and no contention – will ensure that they run smoothly. Read more about the benefits of having no contention for your business.

Because it’s a private connection, you also benefit from greater security as there is a greatly reduced chance of your data being intercepted. Plus you can set your own traffic priorities to ensure no slowing of your important data transfers.

Clearly, this a business-focused product and the delivery reflects this. Ethernet lines are backed by service level agreements (SLAs). These ensure that you get guaranteed speeds together with up times typically in excess of 99%, plus guaranteed fix times in the event of a problem. Ethernet links are also monitored by the service provider which means that any latent issues can be spotted and fixed quickly before they have time to become a major problem.

It’s easy to see why Ethernet has become the world’s favourite networking technology. It offers a range of speeds depending on the connection type and gives businesses a competitive edge.

Once you’ve seen how much a reliable Ethernet connection can save your business, contact on 0808 115 4281 or get in touch online today so our team can help find the best solution for you and your business.

Call Us On 0808 115 4281

Easy as 1-2-3!

Our simple leased line market comparison service can be completed in 3 simple steps!
Need help getting the best package for your business?
Helping you choose the right leased line for your business
What is dark fibre, and can it help my business?
Read More
What is a T1 internet connection?
Read More
What is a 100Mbps leased line bearer?
Read More
How Does Ethernet Work?
Rehan Patel