What Does Ethernet Mean?

Ethernet is an array of networking technologies and systems used in local area networks (LAN), where computers are connected within a primary physical space.


Systems using Ethernet communication divide data streams into packets, which are known as frames. Frames include source and destination address information, as well as mechanisms used to detect errors in transmitted data and retransmission requests.

Techopedia Explains Ethernet

Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is a form of technology used in Ethernet frame transmissions, where Gb refers to the data transmission rate expressed in units of 1,000,000,000 bps. GbE data is transmitted in bundled units, which ensures delivery of the majority of data, even when there are destination delays with one frame or packet. Thus, not all of the data is held back while transmitting and receiving computers grapple with minor data delays.

Ethernet transmission speeds are constantly improving and evolving. For example, 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-T reference the physical Ethernet layer, which contains twisted pair cables and 8 Position 8 Contact (8P8C) modular connectors with male plugs and female jacks. These run at 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps, respectively. 100BASE-TX is also known as Fast Ethernet, where more common coaxial cables are replaced by twisted pair cables, enabling faster frame transmissions.

Carrier Ethernet is a high-bandwidth technology used for Internet access and connectivity by government, business and academic LANs.

Metropolitan Ethernet (Metro Ethernet) is Carrier Ethernet in a metropolitan area network (MAN). Metro Ethernet employs better bandwidth management than most proprietary networks and connects LANs to WANs in large cities. Metro Ethernet is used by corporations, government entities and academic institutions and may be used to create intranets, which are private organizational networks. Metro Ethernet systems are collectively funded by various contributors to provide cost-effective and scalable solutions.


Related Terms

Latest Hardware Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…