Ethernet Standards – CompTIA Network+ N10-006 – 5.4

You may use many different Ethernet networks during a normal day. In this video, you’ll learn about many different speeds and formats of Ethernet, as well as IEEE 1905.1, power-line communication, Ethernet over HDMI, and DOCSIS standards.
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If you’re talking about a wired network, then you’re probably talking about Ethernet. It is the most popular network topology in the world. When you walk into a building, or a store, or an office, they are absolutely going to be running an Ethernet network in those facilities. There are many different kinds of Ethernet. There’s different cabling, and different speeds, and different topology types, and in this video, we’ll look at some of the most popular ones. And although some of the older style of Ethernet networks ran over coax, these days you see almost every Ethernet network running over copper or fiber connections.

The early days of Ethernet ran at 10 megabits, and there were a number of standards around those. One of the earlier standards was 10BASE-2. This was ethernet over a coax connection. It was a very thin type of coax, so we called it Thinnet. It was an RG-58A/U, and it gave us the ability to extend Ethernet to a 185 meter distance.

We updated from the coax to something that was a little easier to use, and that was twisted pair copper. That standard is 10BASE-T. It uses Category 3 cable at a minimum, and it allowed us to extend the Ethernet signal up to 100 meters in distance.

You’ll notice that with these standards, they have a number for the speed, and then, generally, a name of BASE after it. The base is referring to baseband. And as you recall from one of our earlier videos, baseband uses a single frequency and uses all of the bandwidth available over that medium to communicate. If this was a broadband communication, there might be multiple channels within that single medium using different frequencies to communicate back and forth. But most of the Ethernet standards that you will see will have that baseband or BASE in the name.

The next major upgrade to Ethernet moved us from 10 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second. We now had Ethernet running 10 times faster, and one of the more popular standards was 100BASE-TX. We called this Fast Ethernet, because it brought us to this faster 100 megabit speed, and it ran over Category 5, or better, twisted pair. A number of the devices you might have in a small office, or home office, might be running with this 100BASE-TX.

It uses two pair. It’s wired exactly the same way as a 10BASE-T network was, which made it very easy for upgrading and for cabling. And again, the maximum length for a 100BASE-TX network was 100 meters. There’s also a fiber standard for 100 megabit Ethernet, that’s 100BASE-FX. This uses a pair of optical fiber, one for transmit, and one for receive. The maximum links for multi-mode, using this 100BASE-FX is 400 meters, if you’re running half duplex, or 2 kilometers if you’re running a full duplex connection.

The next major upgrade to Ethernet was Gigabit Ethernet running at 1,000 megabits per second. That’s why we have the 1000BASE-T This is gigabit Ethernet over Category 5. We generally don’t see Categories 3, 4, or 5 being sold any longer. These days, the standards tend to be Category 5e, Category 6, or Category 6a. This uses all four pairs, or all eight wires, within that cable. So you can see it’s wired a little bit differently than the 10 or 100 megabit ethernet.

A gigabit standard that didn’t seem to take off was 1000BASE-TX. This was also gigabit over Category 5, but it only used two pairs instead of the four pairs that’s used with 1000BASE-T. This really didn’t take off and you can’t really find anyone selling 1000BASE-TX. But because we used to call the 100BASE-TX the standard for the older 100 megabit Ethernet, you’ll often see 1000BASE-T incorrectly called 1000BASE-TX, when the reality is that those are two very different standards.

We’ll increase our Ethernet speeds by a factor of 10, and now we’re looking at 10 gigabit connections. The 10 gig Ethernet over copper standard is 10 gig Base T, 10GBASE-T. It was a standard that came around in 2006, and it requires a frequency use for wires up to 500 megahertz. This is a lot different than the gigabyte Ethernet, which only required 125 megahertz. Because of these increased frequencies, we needed a higher quality cable, and so we created a new category of cabling called Category 6. Category 6 allowed us to have 55 meter length runs for the 10 gig Ethernet connections. And Cat 6a, which is an augmented version of Cat 6, allows us a full 100 meters running 10 gig Ethernet over twisted pair.

And of course, you could run 10 gig Ethernet over fiber as well. The standard 10GBASE-SR stands for Short Range, gave us 10 gigabit Ethernet over multi-mode fiber. And with most types of multi-mode fiber, we can go 300 meters in length. Some of the older style of fiber may only go to 80 meters in length. To go longer distances with 10 gig Ethernet, you can use the 10GBASE-ER standard. The ER stands for Extended Range, and this allowed us to use multi-mode fiber and go a maximum distance of 40 kilometers.

There’s also a 10 gig standard that allows you to integrate 10 gig Ethernet within existing SONET SDH networks. This is the 10GBASE-SW standard. And this standard uses the same fiber and the same distance limitations as your short range and extended range standards of 10 gig Ethernet.

The ethernet networks in our homes come in many different flavors. We, of course, have wired Ethernet, we have 802.11 wireless, you may find power line networking, which is an IEEE standard, and another standard called Multimedia over Coax. To bring all of these together and make them work as a single Ethernet network, a new standard was created from IEEE called the 1905.1.

This powerline networking standard was also its own separate IEEE standard called the standard 1901. You may also see this referred to as Ethernet Overpower, or EOP. This runs at 500 megabits per second and allows you to connect different devices within your individual premises. It connects intra-building, it connects vehicles together, smart devices, and it’s really designed to bring everything together and network using the existing power lines.

Our media devices are also becoming more Ethernet connected, and there’s a standard of Ethernet that works over the video standard of HDMI. HDMI version 1.4 created this HDMI Ethernet channel, or HEC. You might also see this referred to as HEAC, which is HDMI Ethernet Audio Channel. It allows you to use your HDMI connection as a 100 megabit Ethernet link. This allows a media center to connect a lot of different devices together, gaming systems, audio systems, and much more, without having to run an additional Ethernet cable. This might also, though, require you to get new devices that are HEC compatible. That way they can all understand this new HDMI 1.4 standard, and be able to send that Ethernet signal through all of the different devices.

DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, and the latest version of this specification is version 3.1, which came out in October of 2013. This version allows for speeds up to 10 gigabit downstream, and 1 gigabit upstream. And it allows you to have multiple services running over this one wire from the cable company, so this one connection can give you data voice and video services.