5 Advantages and disadvantages of Ethernet

Ethernet is a widely used networking technology that defines the physical and data link layer specifications for wired local area networks (LANs). Ethernet typically uses connection-oriented communication, which means that devices establish a connection before they can exchange data. In Ethernet, devices typically use protocols like ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) to discover each other's MAC addresses and establish a connection before data can be sent.

Ethernet technology enables devices within a local network to communicate with each other by providing a common set of rules and protocols for data transmission. Here are some key characteristics and aspects of Ethernet are as follows.
• Physical media : It can be implemented over various physical media including twisted pair copper cables (Cat 5e or Cat 6), fiber optic cables and coaxial cables. The choice of physical medium depends on network distance and bandwidth requirements.
• Frame based communication : It operates by breaking data into smaller units called frames. Each frame contains source and destination MAC addresses which allows ethernet devices to identify and route data to appropriate destination.
• CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection ) : In earlier versions of ethernet, CSMA/CD was method to manage access to shared medium. In modern ethernet networks, CSMA/CD is largely obsolete and switched ethernet is used to avoid collisions. Here switches are used to create separate collision domains for connected devices.
• Protocols : It provides foundation for various higher level of networking protocols such as TCP/IP which is basis of the internet and UDP (User Datagram Protocol)

Ethernet Network Fig.3

Ethernet has evolved over the years, with various standards offering different speeds. These types of Ethernet are typically categorized by their data transmission speeds, physical media, and technical specifications. Some of the most common types of Ethernet are as follows.
➨Basic ethernet (10Base-T) : Supports 10 Mbps and uses twisted pair cables and it is based on CSMA/CD access method.
➨Fast Ethernet (100Base-Tx) : Operates at 100 Mbps speed, uses twisted pair copper cables.
➨Gigabit Ethernet (1000Base-T) : Operates at speed of 1 Gbps, uses Cat 5e, Cat 6 or Cat 6a twisted pair copper cables and it is commonly used in local networks including servers, workstations and switches.
➨10 Gigabit Ethernet : Operates at 10 Gbps offering higher data speeds. It uses Cat 6a or Cat 7 twisted pair cables or fiber optic cables. It is commonly found in data centers and high performance computing environments.
➨40/100 Gigabit ethernet : Operates at 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps respectively. They are used in high performance computing environments, data centers and for connecting core network infrastructure. They often use fiber optic cables.
➨Power over ethernet (PoE) : This technology allows both data and electrical power to be transmitted over ethernet cables simultaneously. It finds applications in IP cameras, VoIP phones, wireless APs without need of separate power and data cables.

Benefits or advantages of Ethernet connection

Following are about 5 advantages of Ethernet connection:
1. Reliability : It offers high reliability and stable and consistent connection. Modern ethernet further increases reliability with the use of switches by reducing chances of collisions and network congestion.
2. High speeds : Ethernet offers wide range of speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps and beyond. This allows organizations to choose appropriate ethernet speed to meet their specific bandwidth requirements.
3. Ease of management : It is easy to set up, maintain and troubleshoot the ethernet network.
4. The cables used in ethernet connection are immune to noise and hence quality of connection is maintained without any degradation.
5. Low cost : It is inexpensive to form ethernet based network of computers.
6. Widespread adoption : It follows globally adopted standard for wired networking. This offers compatibility and interoperability among wide range of devices.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Ethernet cable

Following are the 5 disadvantages of Ethernet cable :
1. Vulnerability to physical damage : Ethernet cables and connectors are susceptible to physical damage such as bending, crushing or water exposure. This can lead to network disruptions and requires maintenance or replacement.
2. Security concerns : Ethernet in its basic form does not offer strong security features. Without additional security measures (e.g. firewalls, VLANs or encryption) the networks are vulnerable to unauthorized access or eavesdropping.
3. Limited mobility : It is a wired technology and hence connected devices are tethered to physical cables. This is a concern where mobility is essential such as portable devices or rapidly changing workspaces.
4. Complexity : Managing and troubleshooting large ethernet networks can become complex.
5. Distance : It has distance limitations as per physical medium used. For example, ethernet over copper supports few hundred feet while ethernet over fiber optic cables can span much longer distances.

Conclusion : Ethernet offers several advantages, including high reliability, scalability from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps and cost-effectiveness. Its widespread adoption ensures compatibility, and it's relatively easy to set up. However, disadvantages include limitations on mobility due to physical cables, distance restrictions, vulnerability to physical damage and the need for added security measures. Large networks can become complex, necessitating skilled administrators and advanced management tools.

Ethernet Related Links

Advantages and Disadvantages of other wireless technologies

IrDA    HomeRF    Bluetooth    Radar    RF    Wireless    Internet    Mobile Phone    IoT    Solar Energy    Fiber Optic    Microwave    Satellite    GPS    RFID    AM and FM    LTE   

What is Difference between

RF and Wireless Terminologies