In this lesson, we will cover the fundamentals of LAN technologies.
We’ll look at Ethernet, Token Ring, and FDDI. For each
one, we’ll look at the technology as well as its operations.
- Ethernet and Fast Ethernet
- Ethernet Reliability
- High-Speed Ethernet Options
- Token Ring
- Token Ring Operation
Common LAN Technologies
The three LAN technologies shown here account
for virtually all deployed LANs:
The most popular local area networking protocol today is Ethernet.
Most network administrators building a network from scratch
use Ethernet as a fundamental technology.
Token Ring technology is widely used in IBM networks.
FDDI networks are popular for campus LANs – and are
usually built to support high bandwidth needs for backbone
Let’s take a look at Ethernet in detail.
Ethernet and IEEE 802.3
Ethernet was initially developed by Xerox. They were later
joined by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and Intel to define the Ethernet
1 specification in 1980. There have been further revisions including the Ethernet
standard (IEEE Standard 802.3) which defines rules for configuring Ethernet as
well as specifying how elements in an Ethernet network interact with one another.
Ethernet is the most popular physical layer LAN technology because it strikes
a good balance between speed, cost, and ease of installation. These strong points,
combined with wide acceptance in the computer marketplace and the ability to support
virtually all popular network protocols, make Ethernet an ideal networking technology
for most computer users today.
The Fast Ethernet standard (IEEE 802.3u) has been established for networks that
need higher transmission speeds. It raises the Ethernet speed limit from 10 Mbps
to 100 Mbps with only minimal changes to the existing cable structure. Incorporating
Fast Ethernet into an existing configuration presents a host of decisions for
the network manager. Each site in the network must determine the number of users
that really need the higher throughput, decide which segments of the backbone
need to be reconfigured specifically for 100BaseT and then choose the necessary
hardware to connect the 100BaseT segments with existing 10BaseT segments.
Gigabit Ethernet is an extension of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard. It increases
speed tenfold over Fast Ethernet, to 1000 Mbps, or 1 Gbps.
Benefits and background
- Ethernet is the most popular physical layer LAN technology because
it strikes a good balance between speed, cost, and ease of installation
- Supports virtually all network protocols
- Xerox initiated, then joined by DEC & Intel in 1980
Revisions of Ethernet specification
- Fast Ethernet (IEEE 802.3u) raises speed from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps
- Gigabit Ethernet is an extension of IEEE 802.3 which increases speeds
to 1000 Mbps, or 1 Gbps
One thing to keep in mind in Ethernet is
that there are several framing variations that exist for this
common LAN technology.
These differences do not prohibit manufacturers from developing
network interface cards that support the common physical layer,
and software that recognizes the differences between the two
Ethernet Protocol Names
Ethernet protocol names follow a fixed scheme.
The number at the beginning of the name indicates the wire
speed. If the word “base” appears next, the protocol
is for baseband applications. If the word “broad”
appears, the protocol is for broadband applications. The alphanumeric
code at the end of the name indicates the type of cable and,
in some cases, the cable length. If a number appears alone,
you can determine the maximum segment length by multiplying
that number by 100 meters. For example 10Base2 is a protocol
with a maximum segment length of approximately 200 meters
(2 x 100 meters).