Ethernet Video Series


Episode 07, Segment 08 of 10

Ethernet Delivers the Internet (continued)

In this same way, the IP packet, or Internet protocol packet, inside an Ethernet frame also contains an independent addressing system known as the IP address.

IP addresses are better-organized for delivery across the world in a world-wide collection of equipment and networks. It turns out that Ethernet addresses cannot be used effectively for world-wide distributions, because they are assigned more-or-less at random. Thereís no rhyme or reason in the local distribution of Ethernet addresses on your local network. The only requirement of Ethernet addresses is that they be unique. Imagine how difficult it would be for a world-wide postal service to address packages and envelopes if everybodyís address were completely random. Although an individual letter-carrier could probably memorize the few addresses on his local route, or carry a simple little map to help him sort out the local addresses, it would be completely unreasonable to expect world-wide postal delivery systems on a continental or inter-continental scale to be able to handle completely random address sorting. And thatís why Ethernet addresses cannot be used effectively outside your local area network. They just wonít scale to the world because they are distributed more-or-less at random.

IP addresses, on the other hand, are distributed in a more orderly fashion by an authority in charge of the organization of the Internet. And so the patterns in the numbers representing an Internet address help to locate the networks and sub-networks in the world-wide Internet.

Episode 07, Segment 09 of 10