Classic Ethernet

Classic Ethernet is a family of 10 Mbit/s Ethernet standards, which is the first generation of Ethernet standards. In 10BASE-X, the 10 represents its maximum throughput of 10 Mbit/s, BASE indicates its use of baseband transmission, and X indicates the type of medium used.


Name Standard Status Media OFC or RFC Transceiver Module Reach (km) # Media Lanes (⇅) Notes
Classic Ethernet - (Data rate: 10 Mbit/s - Line code: PE - Line rate: 20 MBd - Full-Duplex / Half-Duplex)
Thick Ethernet
DIX Standard
(50 Ω)
Vampire tap
MAU 0.5 1 1 LAN; original standard;
electrical bus topology with collision detection;
uses a single coaxial cable into which you literally tap a connection by drilling into the cable to connect to the core and screen.
Thin Ethernet
(50 Ω)
0.185 1 1 LAN; dominant standard from the mid to late 1980s;
electrical bus topology with collision detection;
coaxial cable connects machines together, each machine using a T-connector to connect to its NIC. Requires terminators at each end.
10BASE-T 0.1 2 1
FOIRL 802.3d-1987
superseded Fibre
850 nm
ST OF: 1 2 1 original standard for Ethernet over fiber;
uses any optical fiber with up to 4 dB/km attenuation and at least 150 MHz bandwidth;
superseded by 10BASE-FL
10BASE-FL 802.3j-1993
850 nm
ST FDDI: 2 2 1 Nodes
10BASE-FB 802.3j-1993
850 nm
ST FDDI: 2 2 1 synchronous inter-repeater connections
10BASE-FP 802.3j-1993
obsolete Fibre
850 nm
ST FDDI: 1 2 1 passive, repeaterless star network;
Market Failure, never implemented


10BASE-F, or sometimes 10BASE-FX, is a generic term for the family of 10 Mbit/s Ethernet standards using fiber optic cable. In 10BASE-F, the 10 represents a maximum throughput of 10 Mbit/s, BASE indicates its use of baseband transmission, and F indicates that it relies on medium of fiber-optic cable. The technical standard requires two strands of 62.5/125 µm multimode fiber. One strand is used for data transmission while the other is used for reception, making 10BASE-F a full-duplex technology. There a three different variants of 10BASE-F: 10BASE-FL, 10BASE-FB and 10BASE-FP. Of these only 10BASE-FL experienced widespread use.[1] With the introduction later standards 10 Mbit/s technology has been largely replaced by faster Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet and 100 Gigabit Ethernet standards.


10BASE-FL is the most commonly used 10BASE-F specification of Ethernet over optical fiber. In 10BASE-FL, FL stands for fiber optic link. It replaces the original fiber-optic inter-repeater link (FOIRL) specification, but retains compatibility with FOIRL-based equipment. When mixed with FOIRL equipment, maximum segment length is limited to FOIRL's 1000 meters.[1]


The 10BASE-FB is a network segment used to bridge Ethernet hubs. Here FB abbreviates FiberBackbone. Due to the synchronous operation of 10BASE-FB, delays normally associated with Ethernet repeaters are reduced, thus allowing segment distances to be extended without compromising the collision detection mechanism. The maximum allowable segment length for 10BASE-FB is 2000 meters. This media system allowed multiple half-duplex Ethernet signal repeaters to be linked in series, exceeding the limit on the total number of repeaters that could be used in a given 10 Mbit/s Ethernet system. 10BASE-FB links were attached to synchronous signaling repeater hubs and used to link the hubs together in a half-duplex repeated backbone system that could span longer distances.[1]


Fiber-optic inter-repeater link (FOIRL) is a specification of Ethernet over optical fiber. It was especially designed as a back-to-back transport between repeater hubs as to decrease latency and collision detection time, thus increasing the possible network radius. It was replaced by 10BASE-FL.[1]


In 10BASE-FP, FP denotes Fibre Passive. This variant calls for a non-powered signal coupler to act as optical signal couplers capable of linking up to 33 devices, with each segment being up to 500 m in length. This formed a star-type network centered on the signal coupler. There are no devices known to have implemented this standard.[1][2]


  1. Charles E. Spurgeon (2014). Ethernet: The Definitive Guide (2nd ed.). O'Reilly Media. ISBN 978-1-4493-6184-6.
  2. Parker, Tim (2000-07-10). "Obscure standard may make you flip for fibre". ProQuest Computer Science Journals. Rogers Publishing Limited. 13 (11). ProQuest 274984076.
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