Ethernet physical layer
|A standard 8P8C (often called RJ45) connector used most commonly on cat5 cable, one of the types of cabling used in Ethernet networks|
|Standard||IEEE 802.3 (2002 onwards)|
|Physical media||Coaxial cable, twisted pair, optical fiber|
|Network topology||Point-to-point, star, bus|
|Major variants||10BASE-T, 10BASE2, 10BASE5, 100BASE-TX, 100BASE-FX, 100BASE-T, 1000BASE-T, 1000BASE-SX|
|Maximum distance||100 metres (328 ft) over twisted pair, up to 100 km over optical fiber|
|Mode of operation||Differential (Balanced)|
|Maximum bit rate||3 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s|
|Voltage levels||+/- 2.5V (over twisted pair)|
|Available signals||Tx+, Tx-, Rx+, Rx-|
|Common connector types||8P8C, LC, SC, ST|
The Ethernet physical layer evolved over a considerable time span and encompasses quite a few physical media interfaces and several magnitudes of speed. The speed ranges from 1 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s while the physical medium can range from bulky coaxial cable to twisted pair to optical fiber. In general, network protocol stack software will work similarly on all physical layers.
10 Gigabit Ethernet was already used in both enterprise and carrier networks by 2007, with 40 Gbit/s and 100 Gbit/s Ethernet ratified. Higher speeds are under development. Robert Metcalfe, one of the co-inventors of Ethernet, in 2008 said he believed commercial applications using Terabit Ethernet may occur by 2015 though it might require new Ethernet standards.
Many Ethernet adapters and switch ports support multiple speeds, using autonegotiation to set the speed and duplex for the best values supported by both connected devices. If auto-negotiation fails, a multiple speed device will sense the speed used by its partner, but will assume half-duplex. A 10/100 Ethernet port supports 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX. A 10/100/1000 Ethernet port supports 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, and 1000BASE-T.
Xerox experimental Ethernet
|Experimental Ethernet||The original 2.94 Mbit/s Ethernet implementation had eight bit addresses and other differences in frame format. Manchester coded on 50 Ω coaxial cable.|
The following sections provide a brief summary of official Ethernet media types (section numbers from the IEEE 802.3-2008 standard are parenthesized). In addition to these official standards, many vendors have implemented proprietary media types for various reasons—often to support longer distances over fiber optic cabling.
|10BASE5||802.3 (8)||Original standard uses a single coaxial cable into which you literally tap a connection by drilling into the cable to connect to the core and screen. Largely obsolete, though due to its widespread deployment in the early 1980s, some systems may still be in use. Was known also as Thick-Ethernet. 10 Mbit/s, Manchester coded signaling, copper RG-8X (expensive) coaxial cabling, bus topology with collision detection.|
|10BASE2||802.3 (10)||50 Ω coaxial cable connects machines together, each machine using a T-adaptor to connect to its NIC. Requires terminators at each end. For many years during the mid to late 1980 this was the dominant Ethernet standard. Also called Thin Ethernet, ThinNet or Cheapernet. 10 Mbit/s, Manchester coded signaling, copper RG-58 (cheap) coaxial cabling, bus topology with collision detection.|
|10BROAD36||802.3 (11)||An early standard supporting Ethernet over longer distances. It utilized broadband modulation techniques, similar to those employed in cable modem systems, and operated over coaxial cable. 10 Mbit/s, scrambled NRZ signaling modulated (PSK) over high frequency carrier, broad bandwidth coaxial cabling, bus topology with collision detection.|
|1BASE5||802.3 (12)||Operated at 1 Mbit/s over twisted pair to an active hub. Although a commercial failure, 1BASE5 defined the architecture for all subsequent Ethernet evolution. Also called StarLAN. 1 Mbit/s, Manchester coded signaling, copper twisted pair cabling, star topology.|
|StarLAN 10||Proprietary||10 Mbit/s, Manchester coded signaling, copper twisted pair cabling, star topology - evolved into 10BASE-T|
|LattisNet UTP||Proprietary||10 Mbit/s, Manchester coded signaling, copper twisted pair cabling, star topology - evolved into 10BASE-T|
|10BASE-T||802.3 (14)||Runs over four wires (two twisted pairs) on a Category 3 or Category 5 cable. An active hub or switch sits in the middle and has a port for each node. This is also the configuration used for 100BASE-T and gigabit Ethernet. Manchester coded signaling, copper twisted pair cabling, star topology - direct evolution of 1BASE-5.|
|FOIRL||802.3 (9.9)||Fiber-optic inter-repeater link; the original standard for Ethernet over fiber|
|10BASE‑F||802.3 (15)||A generic term for the family of 10 Mbit/s Ethernet standards using fiber optic cable: 10BASE-FL, 10BASE-FB and 10BASE-FP. Of these only 10BASE-FL is in widespread use. 10 Mbit/s, Manchester coded signaling, fiber pair|
|10BASE‑FL||802.3 (15&18)||An updated version of the FOIRL standard|
|10BASE‑FB||802.3 (15&17)||Intended for backbones connecting a number of hubs or switches; it is now obsolete|
|10BASE‑FP||802.3 (15&16)||A passive star network that required no repeater, it was never implemented|
Early Ethernet standards used Manchester coding so that the signal was self-clocking not adversely affected by high-pass filters.
|100BASE‑T||802.3 (21)||A term for any of the three standards for 100 Mbit/s Ethernet over twisted pair cable. Includes 100BASE-TX, 100BASE-T4 and 100BASE-T2. As of 2009[update], 100BASE-TX has totally dominated the market, and is often considered to be synonymous with 100BASE-T in informal usage. All of them use a star topology.|
|100BASE-TX||802.3 (24)||4B5B MLT-3 coded signaling, CAT5 copper cabling with two twisted pairs.|
|100BASE-T4||802.3 (23)||8B6T PAM-3 coded signaling, CAT3 copper cabling (as used for 10BASE-T installations) with four twisted pairs (uses all four pairs in the cable). Now obsolete, as CAT5 cabling is the norm. Limited to half-duplex.|
|100BASE-T2||802.3 (32)||No products exist. PAM-5 coded signaling, CAT3 copper cabling with two twisted pairs, star topology. Supports full-duplex. It is functionally equivalent to 100BASE-TX, but supports old telephone cable. However, special sophisticated digital signal processors are required to handle encoding schemes required, making this option fairly expensive at the time. It arrived well after 100BASE-TX was established in the market. The technology developed for 100BASE-T2 was the foundation for 1000BASE-T.|
|100BASE‑FX||802.3 (24)||4B5B NRZI coded signaling, two strands of multi-mode optical fiber. Maximum length is 400 meters for half-duplex connections (to ensure collisions are detected) or 2 kilometers for full-duplex.|
|100BASE‑SX||TIA||100 Mbit/s Ethernet over multi-mode fiber. Maximum length is 300 meters. 100BASE-SX used short wavelength (850 nm) optics that was sharable with 10BASE-FL, thus making it possible to have an auto-negotiation scheme and have 10/100 fiber adapters.|
|100BASE‑BX10||Proprietary||100 Mbit/s Ethernet bidirectionally over a single strand of single-mode optical fiber. A multiplexer is used to split transmit and receive signals into different wavelengths allowing them to share the same fiber. Supports up to 10 km.|
|100BASE-LX10||Proprietary||100 Mbit/s Ethernet up to 10 km over a pair of Single Mode Fibers.|
|100Base‑VG||802.12||Standardized by a different IEEE 802 subgroup, 802.12, because it used a different, more centralized form of media access ("Demand Priority"). Championed by only HP, 100VG-AnyLAN (as was the marketing name) was the earliest in the market. It needed four pairs in a Cat-3 cable. Now obsolete (802.12 has been "inactive" since 1997) the standard has been withdrawn.|
All of these use a star topology.
|1000BASE‑T||802.3 (40)||PAM-5 coded signaling, At least Category 5 cable, with Category 5e strongly recommended copper cabling with four twisted pairs. Each pair is used in both directions simultaneously.|
|1000BASE‑TX||TIA 854||Only over Cat-6 copper cabling. Unimplemented.|
|1000BASE‑SX||802.3||8B10B NRZ coded signaling, short-range multi-mode fiber (up to 550 m).|
|1000BASE‑LX||802.3||8B10B NRZ coded signaling, multi-mode fiber (up to 550 m) or single-mode fiber (up to 2 km; can be optimized for longer distances, up to 10 km).|
|1000BASE‑LH||multi-vendor||over single-mode fiber (up to 100 km). A long-haul solution.|
|1000BASE‑CX||802.3||8B10B NRZ coded signaling, balanced shielded twisted pair (up to 25 m) over special copper cable. Predates 1000BASE-T and rarely used.|
|1000BASE‑BX10||802.3||up to 10 km. Bidirectional over single strand of single-mode fibre.|
|1000BASE‑LX10||802.3||Up to 10 km over a pair of single-mode fibres.|
|1000BASE‑PX10‑D||802.3||downstream (from head-end to tail-ends) over single-mode fiber using point-to-multipoint topology (supports at least 10 km).|
|1000BASE‑PX10‑U||802.3||upstream (from a tail-end to the head-end) over single-mode fiber using point-to-multipoint topology (supports at least 10 km).|
|1000BASE‑PX20‑D||802.3||downstream (from head-end to tail-ends) over single-mode fiber using point-to-multipoint topology (supports at least 20 km).|
|1000BASE‑PX20‑U||802.3||upstream (from a tail-end to the head-end) over single-mode fiber using point-to-multipoint topology (supports at least 20 km).|
|1000BASE‑ZX||Unknown||Up to 100 km over single-mode fibre.|
|1000BASE‑KX||802.3ap||1 m over backplane|
10 Gigabit Ethernet defines a version of Ethernet with a nominal data rate of 10 Gbit/s, ten times as fast as Gigabit Ethernet. In 2002, the first 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard was published as IEEE Std 802.3ae-2002. Subsequent standards encompassed media types for single-mode fibre (long haul), multi-mode fibre (up to 300 m), copper backplane (up to 1 m) and copper twisted pair (up to 100 m). All 10 gigabit varieties were consolidated into IEEE Std 802.3-2008. As of 2009[update], 10 gigabit Ethernet is predominantly deployed in carrier networks, where 10GBASE-LR and 10GBASE-ER enjoy significant market shares.
|10GBASE‑SR||802.3ae||designed to support short distances over deployed multi-mode fiber cabling, it has a range of between 26 m and 82 m depending on cable type. It also supports 300 m operation over a new 2000 MHz·km multi-mode fiber.|
|10GBASE‑LX4||802.3ae||uses wavelength division multiplexing to support ranges of between 240 m and 300 m over deployed multi-mode cabling. Also supports 10 km over single-mode fiber.|
|10GBASE‑LR||802.3ae||supports 10 km over single-mode fiber|
|10GBASE‑ER||802.3ae||supports 40 km over single-mode fiber|
|10GBASE‑SW||802.3ae||A variation of 10GBASE-SR using the WAN PHY, designed to interoperate with OC-192 / STM-64 SONET/SDH equipment|
|10GBASE‑LW||802.3ae||A variation of 10GBASE-LR using the WAN PHY, designed to interoperate with OC-192 / STM-64 SONET/SDH equipment|
|10GBASE‑EW||802.3ae||A variation of 10GBASE-ER using the WAN PHY, designed to interoperate with OC-192 / STM-64 SONET/SDH equipment|
|10GBASE‑CX4||802.3ak||Designed to support short distances over copper cabling, it uses InfiniBand 4x connectors and CX4 cabling and allows a cable length of up to 15 m. Was specified by the IEEE Std 802.3an-2006 which has been incorporated into the IEEE Std 802.3-2008.|
|10GBASE‑T||802.3an||Uses unshielded twisted-pair wiring.|
|10GBASE‑LRM||802.3aq||Extend to 220 m over deployed 500 MHz·km multimode fiber|
|10GBASE‑KX4||802.3ap||1 m over 4 lanes of backplane|
|10GBASE‑KR||802.3ap||1 m over a single lane of backplane|
40 and 100 Gbit/s
|40 gigabits/second||100 gigabits/second||Standard||Description|
|40GBASE-KR4||802.3ba||at least 1 m over a backplane|
|40GBASE-CR4||100GBASE-CR10||approximately 7 m over copper cable assembly|
|40GBASE-SR4||100GBASE-SR10||at least 100 m over multi-mode fiber|
|at least 125 m over new 2000 MHz·km multi-mode fiber|
|40GBASE-LR4||100GBASE-LR4||at least 10 km over single-mode fiber|
|100GBASE-ER4||at least 40 km over single-mode fiber|
|40GBASE-FR||802.3bg||Single-mode fiber over 2 km|
Terabit and beyond
They believe that Terabit Ethernet may make a debut as early as 2015, and will be followed rapidly by a scaling to 100 Terabit, possibly as early as 2020. It is worth noting that these are theoretical predictions of technological ability, rather than estimates of when such speeds would actually become available at a practical price point. 
For providing Internet access service directly from providers to homes and small businesses:
|10BaseS||Proprietary||Ethernet over VDSL, used in Long Reach Ethernet products|
|2BASE-TL||IEEE 802.3ah-2004||Over telephone wires|
|Passive optical network|
Several varieties of Ethernet were specifically designed to run over 4-pair copper structured cabling already installed in many locations. ANSI recommends using Category 6 cable for new installations.
|Pin||Pair||Color||telephone||10BASE-T||100BASE-TX||1000BASE-T||PoE mode A||PoE mode B|
Combining 10Base-T (or 100BASE-TX) with "IEEE 802.3af mode A" allows a hub to transmit both power and data over only two pairs. This was designed to leave the other two pairs free for analog telephone signals.[not in citation given] The pins used in "IEEE 802.3af Mode B" supplies power over the "spare" pairs not used by 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX.
In a departure from both 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T uses all four cable pairs for simultaneous transmission in both directions through the use of echo cancellation.
Minimum cable lengths
10BASE2 installations require a minimum of 0.5 m between stations tapped into the network cable, this is to minimize reflections.
Some networking standards are not part of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, but support the Ethernet frame format, and are capable of interoperating with it.
- LattisNet—A SynOptics pre-standard twisted-pair 10 Mbit/s variant.
- 100BaseVG—An early contender for 100 Mbit/s Ethernet. It runs over Category 3 cabling. Uses four pairs. Commercial failure.
- TIA 100BASE-SX—Promoted by the Telecommunications Industry Association. 100BASE-SX is an alternative implementation of 100 Mbit/s Ethernet over fiber; it is incompatible with the official 100BASE-FX standard. Its main feature is interoperability with 10BASE-FL, supporting autonegotiation between 10 Mbit/s and 100 Mbit/s operation – a feature lacking in the official standards due to the use of differing LED wavelengths. It is targeted at the installed base of 10 Mbit/s fiber network installations.
- TIA 1000BASE-TX—Promoted by the Telecommunications Industry Association, it was a commercial failure, and no products exist. 1000BASE-TX uses a simpler protocol than the official 1000BASE-T standard so the electronics can be cheaper, but requires Category 6 cabling.
- G.hn—A standard developed by ITU-T and promoted by HomeGrid Forum for high-speed (up to 1 Gbit/s) local area networks over existing home wiring (coaxial cables, power lines and phone lines). G.hn defines an Application Protocol Convergence (APC) layer that accepts Ethernet frames and encapsulates them into G.hn MSDUs.
Other networking standards do not use the Ethernet frame format but can still be connected to Ethernet using MAC-based bridging.
- 802.11—Standards for wireless local area networks (LANs), sold with brand name Wi-Fi
- 802.16—Standards for wireless metropolitan area networks (MANs), sold with brand name WiMAX
- "Consideration for 40 gigabit Ethernet" (PDF). IEEE HSSG. 05-2007.
- "40 gigabit Ethernet answers" (PDF). IEEE HSSG. 05-2007.
- "HECTO: High-Speed Electro-Optical Components for Integrated Transmitter and Receiver in Optical Communication". Hecto.eu. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- "IEEE P802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet Task Force". IEEE. 2010-06-19.
- Yiran Ma, Qi Yang, Yan Tang, Simin Chen, and William Shieh, 1-Tb/s single-channel coherent optical OFDM transmission over 600-km SSMF fiber with subwavelength bandwidth access, retrieved 2010-07-30
- "Bob Metcalfe on the Terabit Ethernet". Light Reading. February 15, 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- John F. Shoch; Yogen K. Dalal; David D. Redell; Ronald C. Crane (August 1982). "Evolution of the Ethernet Local Computer Network". IEEE Computer 15 (8): 14–26. doi:10.1109/MC.1982.1654107.
- Cisco Gigabit Ethernet Solutions for Cisco 7x00 Series Routers, undated, URL retrieved on 17 February 2008
- Reimer, Jeremy (July 25, 2007). "New Ethernet standard: not 40Gbps, not 100, but both". Ars Technica. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- "IEEE P802.3bg 40Gb/s Ethernet: Single-mode Fibre PMD Task Force". official task force web site. IEEE 802. April 12, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Ilango Ganga (May 13, 2009). "Chief Editor's Report". IEEE P802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet Task Force public record. p. 8. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Infineon Strengthens Leadership in MDU/MTU Market with Ethernet over VDSL Technology Patent Award". News release (Infineon Technologies AG). January 8, 2001. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
- "Infineon Announces Second Quarter Results". News release (Infineon Technologies). April 24, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2011. "...strategic design-win with Cisco for new long range Ethernet products incorporating Infineon's 10BaseS technology"
- "Tech Info - LAN and Telephones". Zytrax.com. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- "Cisco 100BASE-FX SFP Fast Ethernet Interface Converter on Gigabit SFP Ports". Cisco Systems. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13.
- IEEE 802.3-2008 Clauses 10.7.2.1-2