Ethernet is an international standardized network technology that enables computers to communicate with each other in a Local Area Network (LAN). Ethernet was developed in the early 1970s by DEC, Intel and Zerox under the leadership of dr. Robert Metcalf. The Institue of Electrical and Electronics Engineering standardized it later as IEEE 802.3.
A simple Ethernet consists of a number of workstations (nowadays mostly Personal Computers) that are attached to a single large cable system, called the Ethernet bus or the trunk. This trunk is shared among all the attached workstations. It is also possible to connect a hub to the bus. Individual workstaton can be attached to the hub in a star-like manner.
The original Ethernet supports a data transfer rate of 10 Mbps. A newer version of Ethernet, called Fast Ethernet, supports data transfer rates of 100 Mbps. Gigabit Ethernet supports rates of 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps, see Giga). This version is mainly used as a backbone to interconnect different LANs. The latest version of Ethernet can even handle data rates of 10 Gbps.