What are Ethernet and Fast Ethernet rules?

Overview

When connecting network equipment together, there are some network rules which you must follow. These refer to:

  • The number of hubs (repeaters) that can be connected together.
  • The length of cabling that is used.
  • The type of cabling that is used.

The rules are similar for both Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. If you are connecting to a Dual Speed Hub 8, you must refer to the Ethernet or Fast Ethernet rules, depending on what type of equipment you are connecting to it. If you connect two Dual Speed Hub 8 units together, the connection is Fast Ethernet.

The following table summarises the information within this section:

This type of port: Can connect to this type of port:
10BASE-T
(Ethernet)
100BASE-TX
(Fast Ethernet)
10/100BASE-TX
(Ethernet/Fast Ethernet) *
10BASE-T
(Ethernet)
YES NO YES
100BASE-TX
(Fast Ethernet)
NO YES YES
10/100BASE-TX
(Ethernet/Fast Ethernet)
YES YES YES

Connecting Hubs Together

When you need to connect more users to the network, you can simply connect another hub to the existing network equipment, to provide more ports.

Hubs (repeaters) work differently to other types of network equipment (such as switches). They simply repeat (pass on to all ports) all information that they receive. This is comparable to a chain of people passing on a message, from person to person, over a long distance.

There is a limit to the amount of hubs you can connect together because a large number of directly connected hubs makes the network vulnerable to collisions.

Ethernet 10BASE-T Rules

The maximum number of repeater hops is four.

You can use Category 3 or 5 twisted-pair 10BASE-T cables. The maximum length of each cable is 100m (328ft).

Note: Category 3 or 5 twisted pair cables look the same as telephone cables but they are not the same. The network will not work if telephone cables are used to connect the equipment.

Fast Ethernet 100BASE-TX Rules

The maximum number of repeater hops is two (for a Class II hub). A Class II hub can be connected directly to one other Class II Fast Ethernet hub. A Class I hub cannot be connected directly to another Fast Ethernet hub. All OfficeConnect Fast Ethernet hubs are Class II hubs.

You must use Category 5 twisted-pair 100BASE-TX cables. The maximum length of each twisted-pair cable is 100m (328ft). The total length of twisted-pair cabling (across directly connected hubs) must not exceed 205m (672ft).

Note: Category 5 twisted pair cables look the same as telephone cables but they are not the same. The network will not work if telephone cables are used to connect the equipment.

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