Before getting into the different types of ethernet, we need to understand what ethernet is, how to use it, and where to use it. You’ll also want to be aware of the hardware you’ll need to set it up as well as the cable options and ethernet types. So, let’s get into it.
What is Ethernet?
Ethernet is a technology that has been around since the 1970s. It connects local area networks (LANs), which is a group of devices in close proximity that share a common line for communication. In simple terms, it’s the technology in your home or business that allows all the devices to communicate with each other. For example, it’s possible to have multiple computers connected to the same printer. We most commonly see LANs throughout businesses or office buildings.
How Does it Work?
This works through networking and hardware. It involves transmitting information through carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD). This essentially dictates who can send information, who’s information goes through first, and how fast it is.
Hardware That You’ll Need
These act as an additional source for information to pass through. With only one line of communication, it can become cluttered and backed up quickly, so bridges do exactly that—they bridge the gap to allow for smoother communication.
Router and Modem
Since these two devices depend on each other, manufacturers often combine them. The modem holds the internet connection, and the router is what connects to the internet via ethernet cables. These are the bridge between the router and the internet.
Network Interface Card (NICs)
Most computers today will have these already built-in, but there are some organizations that still use older equipment. If that’s you, chances are you’ll need to get a NIC to connect with the ethernet. Please note that if you use older equipment, you may need NICs for each computer in the network.
There are a lot of cable options available, and most of them have their own purpose and use. So, if you’re looking to replace your existing cables, you’ll need to take note of the other hardware you have and their specs. Otherwise, it’s possible you’ll end up purchasing the wrong cable, and possibly install the wrong cable, which would be a lot of unnecessary stress. In most scenarios, the standard cable is going to be the Cat5e. However, depending on your hardware, you may have the option to get a higher quality cable that will be stronger, faster, and a better fit for your specific needs.
These cables are slower than most hardware requires now, so it’s uncommon for people to use them. It wouldn’t be worth wasting your time with these unless you have older hardware that requires outdated hardware.
These are the updated version of Cat5 cables according to 5e ethernet. The e stands for enhanced. These are often the most common cables used today because they’re affordable to manufacture, and they work well with most setups.
These are more expensive because they back stronger bandwidths. In other words, they’re faster than Cat5 and earlier versions. However, the distance that is most effective for the best results is reduced and also less than Cat5 and 5e.
The a in this cable represents augmented. While not necessarily enhanced like the Cat5e, they have an additional feature. Manufacturers design these cables to work with a maximum distance of 90 meters for full 10-Gigabit network speeds.
These are an upgrade from the 6 and 6a cables, but they are not readily available to most, as there are limited hardware options for pairing. These offer an increase in bandwidth and distance; however, the farther away you get, the worse your connection will be in general.
People often use these cables, along with Cat7 and 7a, in very niche situations. Individuals or organizations that use these need the absolute best connection and speed possible.
Coaxial vs. Twisted Pair
These are the two most common types of cables. Coaxial is a thick cable that does not easily roll up for quick storage. On the other hand, a twisted pair cable is flatter and much easier to work with and hide. People typically use coaxial for longer distances, and the twisted pair is better for short wiring.
These are the typical ethernet cables you’ll encounter, but there are other more unique options available. For example, there is an HDMI ethernet cable that is compatible with most smartphones. Plus, one of the best things about our cables is that they all come with a lifetime warranty!
The Different Types of Ethernet Networks Explained
This type of connection is purely Mbit speed-based. The rate of speed is typically around 100 Mbit/s. You can usually use it with a Cat5 cable, as well as a fiber optic.
While this type is still in development, it’s constantly improving and becoming more and more available. The rate here is 1,000 Mbit or 1 Gbit. For this ethernet, professionals do not recommend you have any cable less than a Cat5e—in fact, most are opting for a fiber optic cable.
10 Gigabit Ethernet
The 10 Gigabit is the latest standard for top speed ethernet. This type is best for organizations due to their distance capabilities. It’s capable of bridging up to 6.2 miles and the speed can reach 10,000 Mbps. Tenfold of Gigabit Ethernet.
Small- to medium-sized organizations often use this type. Most switches support up to 100 Mbps for Fast Ethernet and up to 1,000 Mbps for the latest Ethernet. The Switch Ethernet technology has been around the longest of all these, so it’s very common and well researched.
The quality of your internet connection can vary greatly based on the cable alone. But the hardware, such as the modem and router, play a big role in internet connection as well. So, it’s important to be sure you have the right equipment for your needs. Ethernet always seems to be changing for the best, so it’s better to purchase the best option available upfront. This way, you will save from replacing the basic cables in the long run.