In early 1970's, Xerox Corporation introduced a different networking concept called Ethernet. The thick coaxial media system was the first media system specified in the original Ethernet standard of 1980. Today most sites use twisted-pair media for connections to the desktop. Ethernet is designed to run on a single transmission line to which all stations are connected. As with token ring, Ethernet is peer-to-peer; however no monitoring device is requires. Unlike token ring, Ethernet does not require that stations wait for a token to be passed before transmitting. Stations are able to connect directly to one another and pass data any time there is no activity on the network. The 10-Mbps Ethernet media varieties include the original thick coaxial system, as well as thin coaxial, twisted-pair, and fiber optic systems. The most recent Ethernet standard defines the new 100-Mbps Fast Ethernet systems that operate over twisted-pair and fiber optic media.
Picture of the first Ethernet.
There are several LAN technologies in use today, but Ethernet is by far the most popular. Industry estimates indicate that as of 1994 over 40 million Ethernet nodes had been installed worldwide. The widespread popularity of Ethernet ensures that there is a large market for Ethernet equipment, which also helps keep the technology competitively priced. .
From the time of the first Ethernet standard, the specifications and the rights to build Ethernet technology have been made easily available to anyone. This openness, combined with the ease of use and robustness of the Ethernet system, resulted in a large Ethernet market and is another reason Ethernet is so widely implemented in the computer industry. .
The vast majority of computer vendors today equip their products with 10-Mbps Ethernet attachments, making it possible to link all manner of computers with an Ethernet LAN. As the 100-Mbps standard becomes more widely adopted, computers are being equipped with an Ethernet interface that operates at both 10-Mbps and 100-Mbps.