Network+/Standards/Theory and Concepts/Introduction
Ethernet is a family of frame-based computer networking technologies for local area networks (LANs). The name comes from the physical concept of the ether. It defines a number of wiring and signaling standards for the physical layer, through means of network access at the Media Access Control (MAC)/Data Link Layer, and a common addressing format.
Ethernet is standardized as IEEE 802.3. The combination of the twisted pair versions of Ethernet for connecting end systems to the network, along with the fiber optic versions for site backbones, is the most widespread wired LAN technology. It has been in use from the 1990s to the present, largely replacing competing LAN standards such as token ring, FDDI, and ARCNET. In recent years, Wi-Fi, the wireless LAN standardized by IEEE 802.11, is prevalent in home and small office networks and augmenting Ethernet in larger installations.
Ethernet is used in most, but not all, computer networking situations. It is a standard which defines rules that all computers follow to allow successful and efficient communication.