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What is Gigabit Ethernet?

Breakneck speed on the Ethernet highway

In short, Gigabit Ethernet is the same Ethernet that we already know and use, but 10 times faster than Fast Ethernet and 100 times faster than Ethernet. It also supports additional features that accommodate today's bandwidth-hungry applications and match the increasing power of the desktop and server.

Gigabit Ethernet is a transmission technology based on the Ethernet frame format and protocol used in local area networks (LANs) and provides a data rate of 1 billion bits per second (one gigabit). Gigabit Ethernet is defined in the IEEE 802.3 standard and is currently being used as the standard backbone in many of today's enterprise networks.

Gigabit Ethernet compatibility with Ethernet preserves investments in network administrator expertise and support staff training, while taking advantage of user familiarity. Just as 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet provided a low-cost, incremental migration path from 10 Mbps Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet is providing the next logical migration to 1000 Mbps bandwidth. A newer standard, 10-Gigabit Ethernet is also becoming available.

Since its introduction in the early 1980s, Ethernet deployment has quickly overshadowed networking connection choices such as Token Ring and ATM.

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