Since the early 1990s, the PC has made computing possible for regular folks, allowing people access to basic computer programs and Internet access. In the early 90s, the Internet was used primarily by supercomputers to communicate information across networks, allowing these computers to send basic data back and forth. As the Internet grew, so did the network infrastructures it relied on, producing more complex communication tools required to deliver information faster, such as Gigabit Ethernet and X2 modules.
Types of Computer Networks
Every computer links to the Internet or to one another through a Metropolitan Area Network, a Wide Area Network or a Local Area Network. Computers can connect locally, as with a LAN connection, or computers can link up to the outside network, as is the case with WAN, however, each class of network serves a different purpose. The difference between the 3 is the label change, however, each network is linked together by the Internet connection allowing each network to communicate information.
The Internet configuration of each network determines the overall speed of how computers communicate information. Originally, Ethernet Internet gave people the ability to send data across networks at a set speed of 3 Mbps. 3 years after the creation of the Ethernet network, Gigabit Ethernet was built, allowing computers to send information at faster speeds of 1 Gigabit per second. The newer speeds seen in 1 Gigabit Ethernet meant that newer technology was required to meet the demands of the higher speeds.
Causes of Faster Speeds
Faster speeds needed networks to handle the high capacity of data being transferred without losing any of the data and without causing the network to slow down. Meaning, the communication highways these networks conveyed information across had to keep up with the transfer rates. In order to stop any loss of data or slowing of transfers, Ethernet networks started to make use of fiber wiring to communicate across networks. Capable of sending data over longer distances and without the fear of losing data, fiber optic systems were the desired alternative. Compared to copper wiring systems, fiber optics were more costly to install but allowed for the highway necessary for transferring data over longer distances.
As with the faster speeds and different wiring of systems, networks depended on optical transceivers to convey and receive information produced by computers at quicker speeds. Transceivers played a necessary role: they provided assistance for copper and fiber optic networks, allowing systems to make use of both types of configuration modes. Older transceivers were bigger and bulkier and often provided support for only one configuration, copper or fiber, making newer transceivers, such as Cisco SFP modules, the preferred choice for networks. Compared to their older counterparts, the newer transceivers were smaller, quicker, and capable of giving support for the various Ethernet configurations and distances.