Ethernet Router

Written by Amy Hunter
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Developed in the late 1970s, ethernet has become the standard in local area network connections. When LAN development first took off, there were a variety of methods of connection available, but by the 1990s, ethernet was considered the gold standard, where it remains today.

The basis for ethernet was that everyone would have their unique 48-bit key media access control (MAC) address. Each network card came installed with its own MAC address, which eased congestion on the network.

The original ethernet connection was on a single COAX cable. Although this was an improvement over what many people were using, the system had its weaknesses. The long single strand of cable caused problems along the entire line if there was a problem anywhere on the LAN. This method of hooking up a local area network also allowed all packets of information to potentially be seen by any user regardless of the destination address.

Now, ethernet connections are run along twisted wire cables, made either of copper or, increasingly, fiber optics. Although the length of the cable is still limited to several hundred meters, the advent of hubs and switches allows for better control over what information reaches a computer on the network. The hubs connect each computer to the network, allowing problems in the cable to have less of an impact on the remainder of the network. Switches control the route and flow of data, which eases the congestion that slows down a network. In the fast-moving profession of computer technology, ethernet has found a way to stay on top for over a decade.

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