Gigabit Ethernet

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Gigabit Ethernet (GbE or 1 GigE) is a term describing various technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of a gigabit per second, as defined by the IEEE 802.3-2008 standard. Half-duplex gigabit links connected through hubs are allowed by the specification but in the marketplace full-duplex with switches is normal.



The result of research done at Xerox Corporation in the early 1970s, Ethernet has evolved into the most widely implemented physical and link layer protocol today. Fast Ethernet increased speed from 10 to 100 megabits per second (Mbit/s). Gigabit Ethernet was the next iteration, increasing the speed to 1000 Mbit/s. The initial standard for gigabit Ethernet was produced by the IEEE in June 1998 as IEEE 802.3z, and required optical fiber. 802.3z is commonly referred to as 1000BASE-X, where -X refers to either -CX, -SX, -LX, or (non-standard) -ZX.

IEEE 802.3ab, ratified in 1999, defines gigabit Ethernet transmission over unshielded twisted pair (UTP) category 5, 5e, or 6 cabling and became known as 1000BASE-T. With the ratification of 802.3ab, gigabit Ethernet became a desktop technology as organizations could use their existing copper cabling infrastructure.

IEEE 802.3ah, ratified in 2004 added two more gigabit fiber standards, 1000BASE-LX10 (which was already widely implemented as vendor specific extension) and 1000BASE-BX10. This was part of a larger group of protocols known as Ethernet in the First Mile.

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