Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks (LANs). Ethernet was commercially introduced in 1980 and standardized in 1985 as IEEE 802.3. Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies. The Ethernet standards comprise several wiring and signaling variants of the OSI physical layer in use with Ethernet. The original 10BASE5 Ethernet used coaxial cable as a shared medium. Later the coaxial cables were replaced by twisted pair and fiber optic links in conjunction with hubs or switches. Data rates were periodically increased from the original 10 megabits per second, to 100 gigabits per second. Systems communicating over Ethernet divide a stream of data into shorter pieces called frames. Each frame contains source and destination addresses and error-checking data so that damaged data can be detected and re-transmitted. As per the OSI model Ethernet provides services up to and including the data link layer.
Contributions by Guy Harris, Rick Sidwell, and The Anome.