A Comprehensive Guide to Ethernet and Ethernet Port


Every time you connect to IoT devices and surf the Internet, do you realize that Ethernet plays an important role in linking you and global network communications? Though you often plug the Ethernet cable into the port for a secure and stable network, do you know what Ethernet is and how to access the Internet? Ethernet is a fundamental part of networking, offering a robust and efficient way to facilitate communications in various environments. In this article, we’ll unravel the mysteries of Ethernet, ports, and cables.

What is Ethernet?

If there is only one computer in the world, a local network is never needed; but if there are several computers in a room, the requirement can emerge for connecting these computers.  In addition, if more than two devices in a shared network deliver data at the same time, the data can be in a mess. And that’s why Ethernet was created. Ethernet is an original family member of networking technologies that allows for the communication among different devices.

Ethernet uses a system of cable-based connections and operates on various protocols that determine how data is transferred over the network. It can support both wired and wireless connections, providing a framework for connecting multiple devices, such as computers, printers, and routers, to enable communication and data sharing.

The Evolution of Ethernet

Ethernet was first introduced by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973, known as Ethernet Version 1.0. The first version of Ethernet operated at a speed of 2.94 Mbps. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has propelled the development of Ethernet. And in 1983, the IEEE released the first official Ethernet standard IEEE 802.3. Ethernet continued to evolve in the 1990s with faster speed and new media types. In the 2000s, Ethernet became the foundation of modern networks and developed to 100 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE), and 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE) standards.

Ethernet Standards

  • 10 Mbit/s Ethernet: The very first Ethernet was released in 1980, supporting 10 Mbit/s. 10 Mbit/s Ethernet can be transmitted through thin coaxial cables and twisted pair cables. The 10BASE-F standard allows the fiber optic cable to transmit data, and the maximum transmission length can reach 2km.
  • Fast Ethernet: Fast Ethernet, also known as 100Mbit/s Ethernet, has been standardized in 1995. Fast Ethernet can be achieved through Cat5 Ethernet cables, Cat3 cables, and fiber optic cables, but Cat5 UTP cables are the most commonly used type. With the boost of fast Ethernet, both signal stations can receive and transmit data with duplex mode.
  • Gigabit Ethernet: Gigabit Ethernet has emerged with the increasing demand for high network speed in multimedia, VoIP, and other telecommunication applications. Gigabit Ethernet is the last Ethernet standard using CAMA/CD. It is noted that 1000BASE-SX and 1000BASE-LX based on fiber optic cables are largely different from 1000BASE-T based on twisted pair cables.
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Beyond:10 Gigabit Ethernet is the latest Ethernet standard. IEEE released the IEEE 802.3ae standard for 10 Gbit/s Ethernet and IEEE 802.3an for 10 Gigabit Ethernet based on twisted pair cables. 10 GigabitEthernet has been used not only in LAN but also in MAN and WAN. In recent years, Ethernet has continued to evolve to meet the demand of data centers and cloud computing, for example, 100GbE, 200 GbE, and 400 GbE Ethernet further pushed the boundaries.
ethernet evolution

What is an Ethernet Port?

People new to a networks may not be familiar with Ethernet ports, but once you have set up the network, you’ll know what Ethernet ports look like. The Ethernet port can be a bit larger than the phone port and it is only compatible with RJ45 plugs for data transmission. It functions as an entry and exit point for Ethernet cables. Ethernet ports are easy to find on different devices such as your computer, router, switch, and gaming consoles. The Ethernet ports on the computer and router can be a bit different as the router features an additional port called  WAN port for connection with Wide Area Network.

ethernet port

What should you do if your MacBook doesn’t feature an Ethernet port but you want to get a wired network? an Ethernet cable with USB, Mini Displayport, or USB-C adapter can help you.

Ethernet Port in Wall

What if there is no Ethernet port in the the wall, or you plan to add a new one? You can create one on your wall with Ethernet wall plates. Ethernet wall plates are usually paired with keystone jacks or couplers for a reliable and fast wired connection between the router and your devices. Ethernet wall plates are available in 1-gang and 2-gang styles and you can also choose these wall plates with different Ethernet ports based on your requirements.

Ethernet and Ethernet Cable

The Ethernet network cannot work without a variety of cables, as it is also known as a wired connection. Initially, coaxial cable, originally used for cable television, was the primary Ethernet cable. Coaxial cable is capable of carrying higher bandwidth over its thick conductor, but its weight and installation challenges make it gradually replaced by twisted pair cables.

Today, twisted pair cables still dominate the world of wired connection for their flexibility and easy termination even for novices. Ethernet can be achieved through different-category Ethernet cables, including Cat5, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, and Cat8 cables. In general, Cat6 cables are commonly used for your home network and office network if you have no such high requirement for network speed. Cat7 and Cat8 cables are usually used for high-density network environments such as data centers and server rooms.

As modern networks evolve, fiber optic cables are increasingly prevalent. Compared to twisted pair cables, fiber optic cables perform better in speed, reliability, stability, and security. Fiber optic Internet can be the promising choice for next-generation networks.


As AI technology emerges and boosts, Ethernet networks may also make a giant upgrade and keep pace with the high requirements of AI in the future. As the fundamental blocks of modern networks, Ethernet, Ethernet ports, and cables enable stable data exchange across different devices. Whether for home, office, or enterprise environments, connecting to Ethernet by directly wiring to Ethernet ports can help users build robust and reliable network infrastructures.

For more information on this topic, you can keep up on our blogs. While VCELINK offers general and basic information for our customers and other visitors to the website, it’s not professional advice.

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