What Is an Ethernet Connection?

By Robert Karr

An Ethernet connection is based on the Ethernet standard and involves connecting Ethernet network devices, plus the jack on each device, with a cable. The connection can also refer to the Ethernet protocol that controls how data is passed over the network.


An Ethernet connection is the most common way to set up a local area network (LAN). The connection provides data transfer at acceptable rates over the network.


One version of the Ethernet connection standard is Fast-Ethernet, which allows data transmission up to 100 MB per second. Gigabit (GB) Ethernet increases data exchange to 1,000 MB per second, and there's also 10 GB Ethernet.


External Ethernet jacks for connections and the ends of the Ethernet cables look like slightly oversized telephone wall connections.


Higher speed Ethernet connections require upgrades in network devices: router or switch interface, network cards and higher quality cables than what is used in slower networks.


Gigabit switches or routers must be backwardly compatible with slower speeds if you have any existing network devices, such as printers, that work at 100 MB per second speeds.

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