Ethernet standards are written and maintained by the IEEE. The standards are in the series IEEE 802.3, each different standard having a different suffix letter after the figure 3. In this way the different IEEE 802.3 standards can be uniquely identified.
The different IEEE 802.3 standards define different aspects of Ethernet. Some of the standards may introduce new versions or flavours of Ethernet to keep pace with the growing requirements for speed and performance, whereas other standards may define aspects like the data frames used.
IEEE 802.3 standards
The IEEE 802.3 standard references all include the IEEE 802.3 nomenclature as standard. Different releases and variants of the standard are then designated by different designated letters after the 802.3 reference, i.e. IEEE 802.3*. These are defined in the table below.
|Ethernet IEEE 802.3 Standards Supplements & Releases|
|802.3a||1985||10Base-2 (thin Ethernet)|
|802.3c||1986||10 Mb/s repeater specifications (clause 9)|
|802.3d||1987||FOIRL (fiber link)|
|802.3i||1990||10Base-T (twisted pair)|
|802.3j||1993||10Base-F (fiber optic)|
|802.3u||1995||100Base-T (Fast Ethernet and auto-negotiation)|
|802.3z||1998||1000Base-X (Gigabit Ethernet)|
|802.3ab||1999||1000Base-T (Gigabit Ethernet over twisted pair)|
|802.3ac||1998||VLAN tag (frame size extension to 1522 bytes)|
|802.3ad||2000||Parallel links (link aggregation)|
|802.3at||2005||Power over Ethernet Plus|
New technologies are being added to the list of IEEE 802.3 standards to keep pace with technology.
There is a convention for describing the different forms of Ethernet. For example 10Base-T and 100Base-T are widely seen in the technical articles and literature. The designator consists of a three parts:
- The first number (typically one of 10, 100, or 1000) indicates the transmission speed in megabits per second.
- The second term indicates transmission type: BASE = baseband; BROAD = broadband.
- The last number indicates segment length. A 5 means a 500-meter (500-m) segment length from original Thicknet. In the more recent versions of the IEEE 802.3 standard, letters replace numbers. For example, in 10BASE-T, the T means unshielded twisted-pair cables. Further numbers indicate the number of twisted pairs available. For example in 100BASE-T4, the T4 indicates four twisted pairs.
Ethernet IEEE802.3 standard has undergone many additions and the process is on-going. This enables the Ethernet standard to keep pace with current developments and remain a forerunner in the data communications and connectivity arenas.
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