Ethernet Fundamentals

Ethernet Fundamentals

Ethernet is the most commonly used link technology supported by Solaris, and comes in five different speeds, including:

  • 10Base-2 2 Mbps

  • 10Base-5 5 Mbps

  • 10Base-T 10 Mbps

  • 100Base-T 100 Mbps

  • 1000Base-T/FX 1 Gbps

The 10, 100, and 1000 here indicate the signaling frequency in MHz. There are different types of media that are supported for each baseband, such as 10Base. For example, the 10Base family, supports the following media types:

  • Thick coaxial cable

  • Thin coaxial cable

  • Twisted-pair cable

  • Optical fiber cable

Coaxial cable is a shielded, single strand copper cable that is generally surrounded by an aluminum insulator. It is a highly insulated, reliable transmission medium. In contrast, twisted-pair cables can either be shielded or unshielded. Optical fiber cable uses light as the transmission medium and typically achieves the highest bandwidth. However, your choice of transmission media may depend on the distances that need to be covered for interconnection. The following restrictions are imposed on the most commonly used transmission media:

  • 10Base-2 185 meters

  • 10Base-5 500 meters

  • 10Base-T 150 meters

So, in a building where 500-meter cabling is required, only 10Base-5 will be suitable unless a repeater is used. Single-mode fiber may be used where long distances of 10-15 km are involved. Also, there are limitations on the number of hubs that can be used to extend the logical length of a segment-a packet cannot be transmitted through more than four hubs or three cable segments in total to ensure successful transmission.


There are some other restrictions that should be kept in mind when using specific media. For example, some types of cabling are more sensitive to electrical interference than others.

Part I: Solaris 9 Operating Environment, Exam I