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What is Ethernet: Advantages and Disadvantages of Ethernet?

Posted in Facts   LAST UPDATED: AUGUST 18, 2021

    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering(IEEE) defines Ethernet as protocol 802.3. Ethernet is a traditional technology of connecting wired local area networks(LANs) and enables the device to communicate with each other through a protocol. The LAN refers to a computer network that interconnects the computers and other electronic devices in a certain area. Basically, ethernet describes how the data formats and transmits so that other devices on the same network device can recognize, receive and process the information. In simpler terms, we can say that Ethernet is a protocol that controls the process of how data is transmitted through LAN. This can be done with the help of an Ethernet Cable. An Ethernet cable is a network cable over which the data travels. However, these ethernet cables are divided into various categories depending upon the total distance that they can stretch and the signals that they can carry. These are the following types of Ethernet cables:

    • 10Base2 - Thin Ethernet
    • 10Base 5 - Thin Ethernet
    • 10Base-T - Twisted pair cables that support up to 10 Mbps
    • 100BASE-T - Supports up to 100 Mbps
    • 100BASE-T - Supports up to 100 Mbps through multimode fiber optic
    • 1000BASE-T (also called "Gigabit Ethernet") - supports up to 1,000 Mbps
    • 1000Base-SX- this is based on a multimode fiber optic that uses a short wavelength signal of 850 nanometers.
    • 1000Base-LX – this is also based on multimode fiber optic but uses a long-wavelength signal.

    Below is the pictorial representation of the ethernet cable.

    Ethernet cable

    Advantages Of Ethernet:

    Because of the following advantages, Ethernet grew up so popular and is still in a practice in many places:

    1. Speed: Speed offered by Ethernet is much greater than compared to the wireless connection. This is because Ethernet provides one to one connection. As a result, a speed of 10Gbps or sometimes 100Gbps can be easily achieved.
    2. Efficiency: Ethernet cable like Cat6 consumes a lower amount of power which is even lower than a wifi connection. So these types of ethernet cables are considered to be the most power-efficient.
    3. Good data transfer quality: As it is strong to noise so the quality of the information transferred doesn't degrade.
    4. Security: The Ethernet connection provides a higher level of security when compared to a wireless connection. Ethernet connection generally provides control over who is using the network and hence any sort of information won't be easily available for the hackers.
    5. Relatively low cost: To form an ethernet we do not need much cost. It is really inexpensive.
    6. Reliability: Ethernet connections are one of the most reliable connections because of their no or zero interruptions from the radio frequencies. As a result, there is less disconnection, less slowdown, and no shortage of bandwidth.

    Disadvantages of Ethernet:

    Even though Ethernet has many advantages, there are still some drawbacks to using an ethernet connection. These are the following disadvantages of Ethernet:

    1. Expandability: It is generally intended for shorter and smaller distances. In case if you want to expand the network then there will be additional expenses and it will be time-consuming in the ethernet. This is because there will be an additional need for routers, switches and all the devices need to be rewired.
    2. The use of longer cables can create crosstalk.
    3. Connections: The number of connections is restricted in Ethernet. If you are using a single ethernet connection then only a single device can be connected. If you want to connect multiple devices then you need to use more cables.
    4. It doesn't work well with real-time or interactive applications because it offers deterministic services.
    5. Mobility: Mobility is limited. Ethernet is ideal to use in places where the device needs to sit in particular places.
    6. It is not suitable for traffic-intensive applications. In case the rate of traffic on the ethernet goes up the efficiency of the ethernet goes down.
    7. Installation: Ethernet connection is harder to install without any professional's assistance.
    8. If there is any problem with ethernet, it is difficult to troubleshoot which cable in the network is causing the trouble.

    Also Read: Types of Communication Networks

    Ethernet Vs WiFi:

    WiFi is another most popular type of network connection that has replaced ethernet connection in various places. These are the following differenv=ces between WiFi and Ethernet:

    1. Ethernet connection transmits data over ethernet cables whereas WiFi connection transmits data through wireless signals rather than over a cable.
    2. Ethernet connection provides faster speed, is more reliable, and is more secure than WiFi.
    3. Ethernet provides a consistent speed whereas WiFi is prone to signal interference and hence provides an inconsistent speed.
    4. In ethernet connection, data encryption is not required whereas wifi connection requires data encryption.
    5. WiFi connection provides higher latency than ethernet.
    6. Ethernet connection has a complex installation process whereas WiFi connection has a simpler installation process.
    7. Mobility is limited in ethernet connection due to physical cable whereas mobility is better in WiFi connection due to no use of cable.

    Why is Ethernet Used?

    Ethernet is used to connect devices in a network and is one of the most popular forms of network connection. The reason why it gained so much popularity is because of its high speed, reliability, and security. For these reasons, it is widely used in local networks such as schools, offices, etc. Another reason for its high popularity is its affordable price and efficiency. With the advancement in network technology, ethernet has also evolved to deliver a higher level of performance.


    In this article, we saw what Ethernet is, its types, advantages, disadvantages, uses, and how it is different from WiFi.

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    Published by: Sonali7