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What is an Ethernet and How an Ethernet Worked?

The Ethernet topology was developed at the University of Hawaii to connect computers on the various Islands. It was radio based design. Later, Robert Metacalfe went to Xeros's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) laboratories and eliminated the radio portion and changed to co-axial cabling. Ethernet is one of the most popular LAN technologies in use today covering more than 85% of the networks. Ethernet system consists of three basic elements:
  4. The physical medium use to carry Ethernet signals between computers on the network
  5. A set of rules (protocols) embedded in each Ethernet interface that will decide how multiple computers on the network will have access to the data on the medium.
  6. An Ethernet frame that consists of a standardized set of bits used to carry data over the system.

The operation of Ethernet can be described in simple terms as follows:
  Each computer on the Ethernet Network, also known as a node, operates independently of all other nodes. All nodes attached to an Ethernet are connected to a shared medium over which the Ethernet signals travel serially, one data bit at a time.
  To send data a station first listens to the channel and when the channel is idle the station transmits its information in the form of an Ethernet frame, or packet. The Ethernet rules (protocol) are defined in such a way that every node gets a fair amount of frame transmission opportunity.

As each Ethernet frame is sent out on the shared medium, the Ethernet interfaces inside the node look at the destination address. The interfaces compare the destination address of the frame with their own address. The Ethernet interface with the same address as the destination address in the frame will read the entire frame and all other network interfaces will ignore the information.

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