Ethernet is the most commonly used method with which to implement local area network (LAN) connectivity among computers and devices. If you connect to the Internet or your local office network with a wired connection, there is a good chance that you are connecting via Ethernet.
What is Ethernet?
Ethernet is a network protocol that controls the method with which computers and devices communicate. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defines Ethernet as protocol 802.3. It is a layer 2 data-link protocol that is often used as part of the TCP/IP stack. TCP/IP resides at layer 3 or 4, making Ethernet the foundation for communication using the TCP/IP protocol. Data is transmitted in Ethernet frames which are broken down by the IP layer 3 into variable-length packets.
What is Ethernet Used For?
Ethernet networking is used for applications where the speed and reliability of the network are more important than the flexibility afforded by a wireless solution.
Ethernet speeds, reliability, and security make it the best choice for mission-critical systems that need to maintain fast and consistent data transmission. When implementing a network, the characteristics of an Ethernet versus wireless solution should be considered. In many business scenarios, Ethernet is still the preferred method of providing communication between an organization’s computers and devices.
Ethernet vs WiFi
WiFi technology has taken the world by storm and is extremely popular because of its convenience and flexibility. You can connect to WiFi just about everywhere, though some of the public connections should be treated very carefully as they are not secure. Many laptops and the majority of mobile devices are not equipped with an Ethernet port and therefore cannot be connected to a wired network without using a converter.
Ethernet is not going away anytime soon as it has a number of advantages over WiFi.
Reliability - The wired connection provided by Ethernet is more consistent and reliable that this provided by a wireless solution.
Speed - WiFi is gaining in this category, but higher-speed connections are still available through a wired, Ethernet connection.
Interference - Ethernet networks are less susceptible to interference than WiFi connections. Wireless networks are notoriously prone to interference from nearby devices or environmental factors such as walls and furniture.
Security - The convenience of WiFi networks introduces security concerns that are not present in an Ethernet implementation. The wired nature of the Ethernet makes it more difficult for hackers to attempt to gain unauthorized access to the network.
Latency - Delays in data transmission, also known as latency, are minimized when employing a wired, Ethernet network.