Ethernet and LAN have a close relevance with each other, where the ethernet is the primary technology which made the concept of LAN practical. The major difference between ethernet and LAN is that the working of ethernet is not centralized while LAN functions in a centralized manner. In another context, ethernet is also a protocol which helps in the networking and the communication among the nodes in various networks (LAN, MAN, WAN, etcetera.).
Content: Ethernet and LAN
|Basis for comparison
|Performs a significant role in the creation of a network.
|Kind of data communication network limited in geographic scope.
|Bus and star
|Ring, bus and star.
|Transmission is possible only when there is no host is communicating.
|There no limitation on the transmission.
|Wired as well as wireless.
Definition of Ethernet
Ethernet is another name given to the prevalent packet switched LAN technology. Initially, it was developed as an experimental coaxial cable network by Xerox Corporation. At that time the ethernet was operated at a rate of 3 Mbps with the help of carrier sense multiple access collision detection (CSMA/CD) protocol for LANs with the irregular traffic needs. Thenceforth, a 10-Mbps Ethernet Version 1.0 was developed by the joint collaboration of Digital Equipment Corporation, Xerox Corporation and Intel Corporation.
The topology is considered as a shared bus because all stations connect to a single, shared communication channel and a broadcast technology because all stations receive every transmission making it possible to transmit a packet to all station at the same time. The main feature of the ethernet is the best effort delivery mechanism as it does not provide any information to the sender regarding delivery of the packet. It is a technology that assists broadcast uses best-effort delivery semantics and has distributed access control.
It is CSMA as various machines can access an Ethernet at the same time and each machine identifies whether the network is occupied by sensing the carrier wave. When the source interface is going to transmit a packet it listens to check if any message being transmitted and it transmits that packet when no transmission is sensed.
The Ethernet is named as “ether” because of its passive characteristics, the active electronic elements are associated with computers linked to the network which makes possible the functioning of the Ethernet network. The dimensions of ethernet cable involve – 0.5 inches diameter and up to 500 meters length. To prevent reflection of light in the ethernet cable a resistor is attached between the centre wire and shield.
A hardware device known as transceiver is needed for setting the connection between a computer and the original Ethernet coaxial cable which sends the signals on the ether. Physically, the link between the transceiver and the inner wire and ethernet cable inserted through a tiny hole in the outer layer of the cable where the small metal pins mounted on the transceiver passes through the hole and provides electrical contact to the centre wire and braided mesh, and this is known as tap in technical terms.
There is also a host interface card or host adapter plugs into the computer and connects to the transceiver and a cable from an adapter board in the host computer is attached to the transceiver is referred to as Attachment Unit Interface (AUI).
Definition of LAN
A LAN stands for Local Area Network which comprised of the shared transmission medium, hardware and software in order to communicate and handle the ordering access of the medium. The main purpose of a LAN is to be able to exchange information and share resources. Similar to ethernet, the LAN protocols work at the two layers of OSI – Physical and data-link layers.
The 802 LAN broadcasts information for all stations to receive and it can follow any of the topologies among bus, ring and star topology. Hence, it does not provide privacy essentially. However, LAN facilitates a direct interaction of the stations with the help of common physical medium on a point-to-point base without requiring any intermediate switching nodes. LAN generally needs an access sublayer for mediating the access to the shared medium. It is also owned, utilized and operated by a single organization.
These LAN are distinguished on the basis of three characteristics – first is the size of the network, the transmission technology and the last is the topology. It can also be categorized under wired and wireless LANs. In initial stages, the speed provided by the LAN was just 10 Mbps – 100 Mbps with low delay and errors. LAN network requires a device to connect machine directly to the network called as a Network Interface Card (NIC).
Key Differences Between Ethernet and LAN
- Ethernet is a basic technology for establishing a network while LAN is a private network bigger in scale comparative to ethernet and more reliable.
- The topologies employed in the ethernet is bus and star while in LAN, the topologies can be a bus, ring, star, mesh, etc.
- A LAN is centrally controlled whereas ethernet is needed not to be centralized.
- In Ethernet, the transmission of data is done only when the path is unoccupied. As against, the LAN does not have any limitation as such ethernet.
- LAN can be wired and wireless as well. On the contrary, ethernet can only be wired.
The Ethernet is an open standard for managing the networks, it is also considered as the chief set of standards for the physical characteristics of LAN. Another way to distinguish the LAN and Ethernet is the network size, transmission technology and the topology where the LAN can be scaled at a higher extent and ethernet network is smaller.