Fast Ethernet

Fast Ethernet was officially adopted in the summer of 1995, two years after a group of leading network companies had formed the Fast Ethernet Alliance to develop the standard. Operating at ten times the speed of regular 10Base-T Ethernet, Fast Ethernet – also known as 100BaseT – retains the same CSMA/CD protocol and Category 5 cabling support as its predecessor higher bandwidth and introduces new features such as full-duplex operation and auto-negotiation.

In fact, the Fast Ethernet specification calls for three types of transmission schemes over various wire media:

  • 100Base-TX, the most popular and – from a cabling perspective – very similar to 10BASE-T. This uses Category 5-rated twisted pair copper cable to connect the various hubs, switches and end-nodes together and, in common with 10Base-T, an RJ45 jack.
  • 100Base-FX, which is used primarily to connect hubs and switches together either between wiring closets or between buildings using multimode fibre-optic cable.
  • 100Base-T4, a scheme which incorporates the use of two more pairs of wiring to allow Fast Ethernet to operate over Category 3-rated cables or above.

The ease with which existing installations were able to seamlessly migrate to the faster standard ensured that Fast Ethernet quickly became the established LAN standard. It was not long before an even faster version was to become likewise for WANs