Ethernet is based on the idea of points of the network by sending the message boards, in what is essentially similar to a radio system, captive of a common wire or channel, formerly called the ether. This is an oblique reference to the luminiferous ether, the means by which nineteenth-century physicists believed light traveled.

Each point has a key 48-bit globally unique address known as MAC, to ensure that all systems in an Ethernet have distinct addresses.

It has been observed that Ethernet traffic has self-similarity properties, with important consequences for traffic engineering telecommunications. Current standards of the Ethernet protocol are as follows:

  • 10 megabits / sec: 10Base-T Ethernet (IEEE 802.3)
  • 100 megabits / sec Fast Ethernet (IEEE 802.3u)
  • 1 gigabit / sec: Gigabit Ethernet (IEEE 802.3z)
  • 10 gigabits / sec: 10 Gigabit Ethernet (IEEE 802.3ae)
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