10Base-T Definition

10Base-T is the Ethernet wiring standard for 10 Mbps (megabits per second) for a maximum distance of approximately 100 meters per segment over unshielded twisted pair cables terminated with RJ-45 connectors.

Ethernet is by far the most commonly used local area network (LAN) architecture as a result of its high speeds, robustness (i.e., high reliability), low cost and adaptability to new technologies. A key feature is the breaking of data into packets, which are then transmitted using the CSMA/CD (carrier sense multiple access/collision detection) protocol until they arrive at the destination without colliding with any other packets.

The name 10Base-T is derived from several aspects of the physical medium. The 10 refers to the transmission speed of 10 Mbps. The base is short for baseband, which means that only one Ethernet signal is present on the send and/or receive pair (i.e., there is no multiplexing as with broadband transmissions). The T comes from twisted pair.

The cable consists of two pairs of unshielded, but insulated twisted wires. One pair is for transmitting data. and the other for receiving data. The cable is most commonly Cat 5, but it can also be Cat 3 or Cat 4. Unlike earlier Ethernet standards (e.g., 10Base5 and 10Base2, 10Base-T does not specify the exact type of wiring to be used.

10Base-T was the first vendor-independent standard implementation of Ethernet on twisted pair wiring. The currently most commonly used form of Ethernet is 100Base-T, also referred to as fast Ethernet, which can accommodate data transfer speeds of up to about 100Mbps. The newer gigabit Ethernet supports data rates of one gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second.

Created October 27, 2005.
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