Since the early 1990s, the personal computer has made computing possible for regular users, allowing users access to basic computer programs and Internet access. The Internet may have been in its infancy in the early 1990s, but the access to computers by everyday folks allowed the Internet to expand, allowing computers to send personal messages and data back and forth. As the Internet increased, so did the network infrastructures it depended on, producing more complex communication tools vital in transmitting information faster, such as Gigabit Ethernet and X2 modules.
Types of Computer Networks
Every computer is connected together by one of 3 different network types: Local Area Network, Metropolitan Area Network, and Wide Area Network, each serving a different purpose. Whether it's LAN, WAN or MAN, each network serves a different purpose, allowing computers to link up locally, as with LAN, or communicate to an outside network, as with WAN and MAN. The difference between the three is the label change, however, each network is connected by the Internet connection allowing each network to communicate information.
Every network makes use of an Ethernet Internet standard that ultimately determines the speed of the network. Originally, Ethernet Internet let individuals convey information across networks at a set speed of 3 Mbps. When Gigabit Ethernet was created three years after the original Ethernet Internet, the speeds of a 1 Gigabit Ethernet standard allowed computer systems to send information faster and more efficiently. However, these quicker speeds would mean newer technology was needed to keep up with the higher speeds.
Causes of Faster Speeds
The higher speeds demanded networks to convey the data without losing information or without causing information to slow. Meaning, the highways these networks sent information across had to keep up with the transfer rates. To keep up with the transfer rates, Ethernet networks began to use fiber optics to send data across networks, creating more efficient data transfers. These fiber optic setups allowed users to transfer data over longer distances without the risk of losing any data. Compared to copper wiring systems, fiber optics were more expensive to install but provided the highway necessary for transferring data over longer distances.
The quicker speeds and different wiring systems meant that fiber optic networks began to rely more on optical transceivers to provide optical signals required to send and receive data. Transceivers played a vital role: they provided support for copper and fiber optic networks, allowing systems to utilize both classes of configuration modes. Older transceivers were fatter and bulkier and often provided support for only one setup, copper or fiber, making newer transceivers, such as Cisco SFP modules, the desired choice for networks. Compared to their older alternatives, the newer transceivers were smaller, quicker, and capable of providing support for the various Ethernet configurations and distances.