Ethernet Tutorial

Segment 5 of 5: Ethernet Vocabulary

Well, that’s Ethernet! Or at least, that’s the basis of the original old-style Ethernet. Nowadays, there are many different types of Ethernet networks using different kinds of cables running at different speeds, capable of communication over different distances. But they all trace their roots and base their technology on the concepts that have been discussed here.


And now that you are comfortable with these simple concepts, we should cover a little bit of terminology. This will allow you to go shopping for Ethernet equipment, buying things with confidence and speaking the language written on the boxes in the stores. This will also allow you to understand some of the other training videos that are available here on


When two or more Ethernet stations transmit at the same time, they garble the messages from both, and this condition has been called a "collision". Because collisions and collision detections are such an important part of Ethernet operation, sometimes an Ethernet segment is called a “collision network,” or a “collision domain.”

Ethernet Addresses

An Ethernet address is 48 bits in length. That’s the source Ethernet address and also the destination Ethernet address. Consisting of 48 binary bits, each Ethernet address is sufficiently precise to allow every single Ethernet interface in every single computer and every single piece of network equipment that has ever been made, to have a unique address from among trillions and trillions possible.

Ethernet Data Rates

Old-style Ethernet transmitted 10 million bits per second. Later on, more modern versions were built with an accelerated speed of 100 million bits per second. Still later, designers learned how to send billions of bits per second, and created what is now called "Gigabit Ethernet".

This is the text from the movie entitled "Ethernet For Beginners" published at You can learn more about the video version and purchase an inexpensive personal license to view it by clicking right here. This article also includes a few static images from the movie, and some links to related materials.


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