From its origin more than 25 years ago, Ethernet has evolved to meet the increasing demands of packet-based networks. Due to its proven low implementation cost, reliability, and relative simplicity of installation and maintenance, Ethernet’s popularity has grown to the point that nearly all traffic on the Internet originates or terminates with an Ethernet connection. Further, as the demand for ever-faster network speeds has increased, Ethernet has been adapted to handle these higher speeds, as well as the surges in volume demand that accompany them.

The IEEE 802.3ae 2002 (10 Gigabit Ethernet standard) is different in some respects from earlier Ethernet standards in that it will only function over optical fiber, and only operates in full-duplex mode (collision-detection protocols are unnecessary). Ethernet can now progress to 10 gigabits per second while retaining its critical Ethernet properties, such as the packet format, and the current capabilities are easily transferable to the new standard.