Tech Tips

Difference between fast Ethernet vs Gigabit Ethernet

Ethernet is a solution that lets you connect to multiple computers and devices to create a Local Area Network (LAN). This is achieved using Ethernet cables that connect the different devices physically. Just like other kinds of networks, Ethernet uses technology that has been developed over time to support faster transfer speeds. Initially, Ethernet started with 10Mbps speeds, but it moved to 100Mbps fast Ethernet. It has even gone up to 1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet and if you use Cat6 cables, it can go up to 10000Mbps Ethernet. We’ll take a closer look at fast Ethernet compared to Gigabit Ethernet to understand the differences between them. We’ll also talk briefly about the original 10Mbps Ethernet. Let’s start with the later.

10Mbps Ethernet

This is one of the oldest versions of Ethernet so it is outdated and not used these days. It was replaced by Fast Ethernet and later, by Gigabit Ethernet so there is no real need for 10Mbps to set up your LAN.

100Mbps Ethernet

Ethernet cable – 10Mbps vs 100Mbps vs 1000Mbps – Difference between Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet

Originally introduced in 1995, 100Mbps Ethernet or Fast Ethernet as it is also known, was released using the 802.3u standard. However, other 100Mbps standards became available after that.

Fast Ethernet uses category 5 Ethernet cables that enable data to be transferred at high speeds, but it is backward compatible with earlier Ethernet standards.

1000Mbps Ethernet

Gigabit Ethernet or 1000Mbps Ethernet, made it appearance in 1999, only a few years after 100Mbps was released. In spite of being available for quite some time, it only became become popular in recent years. It offers faster transfer speeds and offers more bandwidth. Like 100Mbps Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet is fully backward compatible.

What is the difference between 10Mbps, 100Mbps and 1000Mbps?

The main difference between the Ethernet types that we have mentioned is the data speed. With Gigabit Ethernet, the available bandwidth and interference are improved, offering an optimal performance in different areas.

In general, every type of Ethernet supports up to 100 meters per cable run, but the exact length and speed available at each segment is different. It would depend on the condition of the cable used. Fast Ethernet usually relies on Cat 5 or Cat 5e cables and Gigabit Ethernet uses Cat 5e or Cat 6 Ethernet cables. While all cables are backward compatibles, the network will be limited to the speed of the slowest cable. Currently, 10Mbps is practically unused, while 100Mbps is widely used in many locations, but 1000Mbps is becoming pretty common too.

If you have 1Gbps Ethernet, you can get faster speeds, but the majority of internet connections don’t actually reach this speed. As such, it is mainly effective for transfers in your local network. This means that you can stream content on your local network. In an office environment where dual WAN routers are often used, it is also possible to back up computer, connect servers and more.

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