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Difference between Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet

Last Updated : 03 May, 2024
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Ethernet is the most widely used LAN technology defined under IEEE standards 802.3. Fast Ethernet network uses cables called twisted pair or CAT5. It can transfer data at a speed of 100 Mbps while Gigabit Ethernet can transfer data at a speed of 1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps. Gigabit Ethernet also uses fiber optic and twisted pair cables for communication. In this article, we are going to discuss the differences between fast and gigabit ethernet.

What is Fast Ethernet?

Fast Ethernet is the Successor of 10-Base-T Ethernet. It is more popular than Gigabit Ethernet because its configuration and implementation are simple. It is faster than its successors. Its variants are: 

  • 100Base-T4
  • 100Base-Tx
  • 100Base-Fx

The coverage limit of Fast Ethernet is up to 10 km and its round-trip delay in Fast Ethernet is 100 to 500 bit times. 

Advantages of Fast Ethernet

  • Fast Ethernet networks are 10 times faster (100 Mbps) than traditional networks.
  • Fast Ethernet supports more flexibility then others.
  • Adding an extra host on Ethernet is more easier than adding a host on other LANs due to its basic structure.
  • Its protocol is basic, and hosts may be added without shutting down the network.
  • It is inexpensive and cost-effective due to its simple maintenance and design.

Disadvantages of Fast Ethernet

  • Fast Ethernet have limited speed.
  • Fast Ethernet may suffer from more congestion leading to decrease in the performance.
  • Fast Ethernet have limited distance range upto 100 meters.
  • Fast Ethernet devices may consume more power than traditional Ethernet.

Categories of fast ethernet

What is Gigabit Ethernet?

Gigabit Ethernet is the successor of Fast Ethernet. It can produces upto 1 Gbps speed. It is less popular than Fast Ethernet because its configuration and implementation is complicated than Fast Ethernet. The coverage limit of Gigabit Ethernet is up to 70 km. 

Advantages of Gigabit Ethernet

  • Gigabit Ethernet supports full-duplex mode, which increases the bandwidth.
  • Gigabit Ethernet is backward compatible with fast ethernet.
  • Gigabit Ethernet supports high speed data transfer.
  • It removes barriers and increases performance.
  • A large volume of data can be simply transferred over a network.

Disadvantages of Gigabit Ethernet

  • Gigabit Ethernet is more expensive then fast ethernet.
  • These devices consume more power then other ethernets.
  • Gigabit Ethernet require upgraded infrastructure requirement.

Difference between Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet: 

Fast Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Fast Ethernet provides 100 Mbps speed. Gigabit Ethernet offers 1 Gbps speed.
Fast Ethernet is simple configured. While Gigabit Ethernet is more complicated than Fast Ethernet.
Fast Ethernet generate more delay comparatively. Gigabit Ethernet generates less delay than Fast Ethernet.
The coverage limit of Fast Ethernet is up to 10 km. While the coverage limit of Gigabit Ethernet is up to 70 km.
The round-trip delay in Fast Ethernet is 100 to 500 bit times. While the round-trip delay in Gigabit Ethernet is 4000 bit times.
Fast Ethernet is the Successor of 10-Base-T Ethernet. While Gigabit Ethernet is the successor of Fast Ethernet.
Fast ethernet is less scalable than Gigabit ethernet. Gigabit ethernet is more scalable than Fast ethernet.

Conclusion

The primary difference between Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet is speed. Gigabit Ethernet is gradually replacing Fast Ethernet for home use. Currently, 10G or 25G Ethernet is preferred in enterprise networks, while 40G, 100G, or even 200G and 400G Ethernet are primarily used in large data centers and in core networks.

Frequently Asked Questions on Fast and Gigabit Ethernet – FAQs

Which Ethernet port is faster?

1G Ethernet offers a maximum bandwidth of 1,000 Mbps.

Can I use existing Fast Ethernet infrastructure for Gigabit Ethernet?

Existing Ethernet LANs with 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps cards can feed into a Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure.

How to improve Ethernet speed?

  • Improve Ethernet Cables.
  • Update Network Drivers.
  • Optimize Quality of Service.
  • Reduce Length of Cable.
  • Reduce Electromagnetic Interference.

What is the maximum distance of Gigabit Ethernet?

1000BASE-T is a standard for Gigabit Ethernet over twisted-pair cable. The recommended maximum length for each 1000BASE-T network segment is 100 metres (330 feet).


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