Ethernet Hardware


Single line

The first Ethernet topologies used a single cable line, to which all network nodes were attached. The main disadvantage is that a network breakdown at a single place can easily make the whole network unusable.

Both the 10BASE5 and 10BASE2 had the same problem that a single point of failure (break in any of the connections) could severely degrade or bring down the whole network.


When Ethernet hubs/switches were first available, they were quite expensive. As they become more common and therefore cheaper, more and more people replaced their existing network using hubs or even switches, which makes the network much more reliable. Today switches are very cheap, so single line Ethernets (using thin or thick cables) are only very rarely used.

Maximum cable length

The maximum cable (segment) length is depending on the cable and the transfer speed used.

Technology Cabling Max Cable Length
10BASE5 Yellow cable 500m
10BASE2 RG58 coax 185m
10BASE-T EIA/TIA Category 3 UTP 100m
10BASE-FP 62.5 or 125 micron MMF 1km
10BASE-FB 62.5 or 125 micron MMF 2km
10BASE-FL 62.5 or 125 micron MMF 2km
100BASE-TX EIA/TIA Category 5 unshielded twisted pair (2 pair) 100m
100BASE-T2 Cat 3, 4, & 5 UTP (2 pair) 100m
100BASE-T4 Cat 3, 4, & 5 UTP (4 pair) 100m
100BASE-FX 62.5 micron multimode fiber 400m half duplex, 2km full duplex
100BASE-FX Single mode fiber 10km
1000BASE-CX Shielded twisted pair 25m
1000BASE-T Cat 5 UTP (4 pair, 100MHz) 100m
1000BASE-SX 62.5 micron MMF 275m
1000BASE-SX 50 micron MMF 550m
1000BASE-LX/LH 50 or 62.5 micron MMF 550m
1000BASE-LX/LH 9 micron SMF 10km
1000BASE-ZX 9 micron SMF 70km
1000BASE-ZX 8 micron SMF 100km
10GBASE-SR/SW 62.5 micron MMF 33m
10GBASE-SR/SW 50 micron MMF 66m or 300m (2GHZ)
10GBASE-LR/LW 9 micron SMF 10km
10GBASE-ER/EW 9 micron SMF 40 km
10GBASE-LX4/LW4 50 or 62.5 micron MMF 300 m
10GBASE-LX4/LW4 9 micron SMF 10 km
10GBASE-CX4 Special copper cable / connectors (8 pair) 15 m
10GBASE-T CAT 6a (4 pair, 625MHz) 100 m
10GBASE-T CAT 6e (4 pair, 500MHz) 55 m

Using repeaters between segments can increase the maximum length.

External Links

An Introduction to Auto-Negotiation provides an extensive overview of the autonegotiation process.

Imported from on 2020-08-11 23:13:53 UTC