Introduction, Fast ethernet technology, Switching technology – NetComm NP2160 User Manual

Page 4: Fast ethernet technology switching technology

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Rev.1 - YML623

Page 4

16-port 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet ProSwitch


This chapter describes the features of the Switch and some background information about
Ethernet/Fast Ethernet switching technology.

Fast Ethernet Technology

The growing importance of LANs and the increasing complexity of desktop computing
applications are fueling the need for high performance networks. A number of high-speed LAN
technologies have been proposed to provide greater bandwidth and improve client/server
response times. Among them, 100BASE-T (Fast Ethernet) provides a non-disruptive, smooth
evolution from the current 10BASE-T technology. The non-disruptive and smooth evolution
nature, and the dominating potential market base, virtually guarantee cost effective and high
performance Fast Ethernet solutions in the years to come.

100Mbps Fast Ethernet is a new standard specified by the IEEE 802.3 LAN committee. It is an
extension of the 10Mbps Ethernet standard with the ability to transmit and receive data at
100Mbps, while maintaining the CSMA/CD Ethernet protocol. Since the 100Mbps Fast
Ethernet is compatible with all other 10Mbps Ethernet environments, it provides a
straightforward upgrade and takes advantage of the existing investment in hardware, software,
and personnel training.

Switching Technology

Another approach to pushing beyond the limits of Ethernet technology is the development of
switching technology. A switch bridge Ethernet packets at the MAC address level of the
Ethernet protocol transmitting among connected Ethernet or Fast Ethernet LAN segments.

Switching is a cost-effective way of increasing the total network capacity available to users on a
local area network. A switch increases capacity and decreases network loading by dividing a
local area network into different segments, which don't compete with each other for network
transmission capacity.

The switch acts as a high-speed selective bridge between the individual segments. The switch,
without interfering with any other segments, automatically forwards traffic that needs to go
from one segment to another. By doing this the total network capacity is multiplied, while still
maintaining the same network cabling and adapter cards.

For Fast Ethernet networks, a switch is an effective way of eliminating problems of chaining
hubs beyond the "two-repeater limit." A switch can be used to split parts of the network into
different collision domains, making it possible to expand your Fast Ethernet network beyond the
205-meter network diameter limit for 100BASE-TX networks. Switches supporting both
traditional 10Mbps Ethernet and 100Mbps Fast Ethernet are also ideal for bridging between the
existing 10Mbps networks and the new 100Mbps networks.