Networking with Ethernet

Developed in the 1970s, Ethernet has become one of the most widely used Local Area Networks (LANs). Ethernet's commercial success and the explosive growth of related web technologies have made Ethernet an attractive option for industrial users.The simplest LAN is composed of three basic elements: devices (computers and peripherals) which are commonly referred to as nodes, Network Interfac...

01/01/2001


Developed in the 1970s, Ethernet has become one of the most widely used Local Area Networks (LANs). Ethernet's commercial success and the explosive growth of related web technologies have made Ethernet an attractive option for industrial users.

The simplest LAN is composed of three basic elements: devices (computers and peripherals) which are commonly referred to as nodes, Network Interface Cards (NICs) for connecting nodes to the network, and the media (wires or cable) which connect the devices that make up a LAN. LANs also require networking software, which is included in operating systems like Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Apple Mac OS and Unix variants.

Media are basic

Selecting appropriate media (or cable) is the essential starting point. There are four types of media: thick coaxial cable (coax) for 10BASE5 networks, thin coax for 10BASE2, unshielded twisted pair (UTP) for 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX, and fiber-optic cable for 10BASE-FL and 100BASE-FX networks.

Thick coax was the original cabling scheme for Ethernet networks. It was soon replaced by thin coax, which was less expensive and easier to work with. The most popular wiring schemes (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX) use UTP cable. This cable is similar to telephone cable, and is available in a variety of grades, with each higher grade offering better performance. Level 5 (or CAT5) is commonly used for 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX networks. In installations where environmental hazards (lightning), long cable runs, and electromagnetic interference are issues, fiber-optic cable can be used.

The transmission speed of Ethernet (10BASE2, 10BASE5, 10BASE-T, 10BASE-FL) is 10 Megabits per second (Mbps). Fast Ethernet (100 BASE-TX, 100BASE-FX) raises the speed to 100Mbps. Emerging Gigabit Ethernet networks operate at 1Gbps (1,000 Mbps).

The physical arrangement of the network is referred to as the network topology. Ethernet support two basic configurations: bus and star.

A bus topology consists of nodes connected in series. This configuration often makes changes to the network difficult, and a break in the cable will often cause the entire segment to be inoperable. Examples of this topology include 10BASE2 and 10BASE5. 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX use a star topology, in which UTP cables are terminated at a central location with a hub or switch. Its primary advantage topology is reliability—a break in the point-to-point cable connecting a node affects only that node. It also enables easier network expansion, since nodes can be added without disruption to the network.

Protocols allow communication

Network protocols define how nodes identify one another on the network, the format of data sent between nodes, and the procedures for handling lost or damaged data. Protocols are separate from the physical network, thus allowing multiple protocols to coexist on the network. In recent years, TCP/IP has become the overwhelming favorite, since it is the foundation of the Internet, and it can be used on most operating systems.

Hubs, switches, and routers are used to join network segments. Hubs, the simplest of these devices, work by amplifying signals received on one port and by broadcasting it out the other ports. Switches expand the capabilities of hubs by switching connections between nodes, reducing the "shared network" to only two nodes. Switching is automatic, resulting in full available bandwidth between any two nodes.

Another means of increasing network efficiency is to limit traffic between network segments. Routers can logically segment networks, so that only traffic destined for a particular node can pass between network segments.

Ethernet Implementations

Network Type Speed Topology Media Nodes Per Segment Distance Per Segment
10BASE210 MbpsBusThin coax (RG-58AU)30185m (606 ft)
10BASE510 MbpsBusThick coax100500m (1640 ft)
10BASE-T10 MbpsStarUnshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) - CAT3 or better2100m (328 ft)
10BASE-FL10 MbpsStarFiber optic22,000m (6,561 ft)
100BASE-TX100 MbpsStarUnshielded twisted pair (UTP) - CAT5 or better2100m (328 ft)
100BASE-FX100 MbpsStarFiber optic22,000m (6,561 ft)


Author Information
Paul Wacker is automation marketing manager of Lantronix (Irvine, Calif.).




The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me