Ethernet is a part of the LAN (Local Area Network) technology, although it is also applied in MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network) connections. It has been standardized under IEEE 802.3 and had been credited to Robert Melancton Metcalfe, an American engineer and entrepreneur.
You can read more about Robert Metcalfe at this link, although technically speaking Ethernet was co-invented by him, David Boggs (an electrical and radio engineer), Butler Lampson (a computer scientist), and Charles P. Thacker (a pioneer computer designer).
What are some of the advantages of an Ethernet setup?
First off, forming a network of computers based on an Ethernet connection is rather inexpensive, so it is definitely a budget-friendly option, especially for workspaces or any kind of cooperative task management environment. And when you compare it to most other ways of connecting several computers together, it comes off as basically being at zero cost.
An Ethernet setup does not follow client-server architecture, because all of the nodes have the same privileges. Moreover, since it does not require any hubs or switches, maintenance is simple, and so is administration.
The cables that are used in this type of connection are robust to noise (in other words, they are noise-resistant), and as a direct consequence of that, the quality of the data transfer is safe from experiencing any kind of degradation. If you ever find that you cable connection is not really covering for all of your needs, you can always simply get and set up an Ethernet extension.
In our modern day and age, Ethernet is nowhere nearly as slow as what some people may fear it to be like. Employing solutions such as wireless Ethernet (yes, that legitimately exists and works) or gigabit Ethernet will allow you to achieve the notable speed of one to 100 Gb per second.
What are some of the disadvantages of an Ethernet setup?
Firstly, and the most irritating, the gigabit Ethernet incarnation is still not in very wide use, so its real life, applicable benefits are actually accessible to only half a handful of people. Moreover, the very initial design upon which the modern-day Ethernet is built and functions, was not designed to be able to support voice and video traffic in real time.
Also, this network type fails to prioritize traffic, so effective class of service is actually not supported. This inability for setting packet priority levels is, in fact, the reason why it is so unsuitable for the client-server architecture.
It is not a suitable solution for those people who require intense traffic on a regular basis, because it behaves in opposite proportion: the more you increase the overall level of traffic on your Ethernet, the more its efficiency will be taking a plunge.
Another major gripe is that, if there should happen to be any kind of a problem in your Ethernet, the troubleshooting process is going to be a nightmare. Because the nodes are all treated as equal, and the cables too, identifying the actual troublemaker component of your network is bound to get you a nasty headache by the time you are done fixing it all. You can visit this page for some Ethernet troubleshooting tips: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2835564/networking/when-your-ethernet-wont-connect.html
It is not well suited to interactive applications. If you are using one of those, your data transfer is going to be conducted in exceedingly small packets being transferred back and forth at high speed. However, an Ethernet connection has a minimum requirement for your frame size standing at 46B, and in order to meet that requirement, you will most likely have to feed it dummy data to reach the mandatory frame.
Stuff to look out for when buying an Ethernet cable
So, after all of that, if you want to set up an Ethernet connection for your system, here are some things to consider before purchasing your gear. We are going to assume that by now you have your necessary category and frequency of the cable figured out as well, because let’s be honest here, those two hinges are what most people will google and read up about immediately. But aside from these obvious essentials, you also need to pay attention to three more: the shielding, the jackets, and the cable length.
Jackets and shielding are the two forms of protection an Ethernet cable can have. A jacket covers the cable body and makes sure that it will not be damaged when you route it around your home or office. Most of them use PVC jackets, although they do vary in durability, and some low-quality ones break down quickly and tear easily. Basically, the stronger the cable jacket, the longer your cable will last. Shielding is the protection you find inside the cable. It prevents the signal from degrading and prevents interference, which is especially important in harsh environments or if you have multiple cables running simultaneously.
Ethernet cables have great length variations, from 2m, through 15 or 30m, up to 100m (without repeaters). Overall, though, anything shorter than 3m tends to be too short. Do not skimp on your cable length. Chances are you will have to reroute your cable at some moment in time, or you will need to relocate your computer or router. Investing in a little extra cable at the outset will save you a big headache in the long run.