An Ethernet standard for 100-Mbps data transmission. Defined by the IEEE 802.3u specification, Fast Ethernet is used for departmental backbones, connections to high-speed servers, and connections to workstations running bandwidth-intensive software such as CAD or multimedia applications.
Fast Ethernet uses the same Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) media access control mechanism as traditional 10-Mbps Ethernet networks. Fast Ethernet implementations are collectively known as 100BaseT technologies. They are generally wired in a star topology using special Fast Ethernet hubs and switches. Fast Ethernet can be implemented in three different transmission schemes or cabling options:
Graphic F-3. Fast Ethernet island connected to legacy 10BaseT network.
The Fast Ethernet specification includes mechanisms for auto-negotiation of frame speed for the media, enabling vendors to supply dual 10/100-Mbps networking devices for smoothly incorporating Fast Ethernet into legacy 10BaseT networks.
Upgrading to Fast Ethernet is probably the easiest and cheapest way of upgrading your network to meet increasing bandwidth needs. Advantages of upgrading 10-Mbps Ethernet networks to Fast Ethernet include the following:
Repeaters (hubs) for Fast Ethernet networks come in two varieties:
An alternative to Fast Ethernet is 100BaseVG (also called 100VG-AnyLan). This IEEE 802.12 specification defines 100-Mbps transmission using a demand-priority media access control technology that Hewlett-Packard originally developed for transporting both Ethernet and Token Ring frames.
End-to-end node distances on Fast Ethernet segments should be no more than 205 meters depending on the class of repeaters and cabling being used. Also, nodes cannot be more than 100 meters from a hub or repeater with 100BaseTX, or 412 meters with 100BaseFX.
100-Mbps Ethernet switches can be used for segmenting your network to reduce bottlenecks caused by users trying to access key servers on the network. Simply connect each local area network (LAN) 10/100 hub to the Ethernet switch, and connect the servers directly to the switch.
The original Fast Ethernet cabling
You might be interested in (from Amazon):