Suggestions for an Ethernet course

Hello all

In my day to day work we're implementing more and more devices connected by Ethernet. Other colleagues seem to have some grasp of Ethernet and effective use of it, but I would like to develop my knowledge.

I'd like some suggestions of online courses or any useful articles if anyone has any.

Thank you!

  • This is a really broad question which makes it difficult to answer.

    What aspect of Ethernet are you interested in and for this I would reference the OSI model - Wikipedia.

    At the physical layer you would most likely reference data sheets, but as you go into higher levels it gets more complex and most undergraduate level books only summarise the subject (unless you do a specific networks module, but I'm pretty sure my course text book from many decades ago is out of date now).

    You could of course read the IEEE standard.

    Dare I say it, but the Wiki entry for Ethernet looks reasonable as a starting point. Then if you have specific aspects you are interested in, then perhaps a search of the IET Digital Library?

    Good luck,


  • Thanks for taking the time to answer Mark. I started going through the IET Library a while ago and couldn't find anything I needed. I think you answer this question quite well in saying that my original question isn't very specific.

    Your suggestion of the wikipedia entry and then branching off into relevant aspects when necessary. I think first I want a solid understanding of the basics.

  • Depends strongly how basic you mean - 'Ethernet' is is arguably the transmission medium- i.e.several sets of twisted pair transmission line or fibres or wireless links (wi-fi etc.)

    But in common parlance folk normally actually mean the protocol - the set of waggling voltages or light and dark flashing laser pulses, or modulation of the radio waves that is  actually 'carried'  over those media, where certain patterns make up numbers that are in themselves grouped up to form  packets where some of the numbers are the payload - the data to be sent and other numbers are the source and destination address (usually as IP packets but not always)

    Within one physical destination (one network address on  computer) different processes normally  use different 'socket numbers' to sort out which data is used for which task (so for example  Email data goes to the Email program, and web pages go to the web browsing program, all on the same machine..)

    Once you have got that, if you have access to a machine that you have admin rights on you can learn a  lot by installing wireshark (runs more or less the same under windows or Linux )  and watching some network traffic go past - first you realize how much there is, but also how the data is framed, error checked and sorted by socket etc.


  • The only caution I would add here, the IT departments can get a little upset if you install wireshark and start monitoring corporate traffic. Although you do spot some interesting things!

    Wireshark was very useful as it lets you filter on different packet types and it works with many different networking protocols, not just those related to ethernet. The one thing you spot quite quickly is just how much padding is around the data. Especially if your data gets wrapped into multiple different protocols.

    I have an electronics bias, so my interest is not the software side, but down in the physical layer. The different transceivers depending on the physical interface. Fiber, copper, etc and what the SoC supports itself.

  • CompTIA and networking courses could be a good avenue. Cisco do free courses on their website or you can look on youtube for material if you don't want certified.