A local area network (LAN) provides a path of communication, allowing the delivery of packets of data, voice, or video originating from the sender (logical source address) to the receiver (logical destination address). Ethernet is the most common LAN used. As you start to learn about networking, remember that communication and the movement of large numbers, whether it is people, cars, mail, or network traffic, have a commonality. Everything you know and use in your daily life can be compared to the way traffic moves.
The Ethernet standard is IEEE 802.3. The IEEE standards are updated periodically to improve the operation and speed of the Ethernet. Each update adds a project amendment suffix to the end of the specified Ethernet standard IEEE 802.3. The suffix is identified by alpha characters, noting a change to the original standard.
Each project amendment has a name identifying the supported speed, the signal type, and cable specifications. The earliest standards called for the use of coaxial cables and were known as 10BASE-5 and 10BASE-2. Today's networks use either unshielded twisted pair (UTP) or fiber cable. The use of UTP cable was first introduced in the 1980s with project amendment IEEE 802.3i.