Ethernet is a Layer 2 technology that operates in a shared bus topology. Ethernet supports broadcast transmission, uses best-effort delivery, and has distributed access control. Ethernet is a point-to-multi point technology.
In a shared bus topology, all devices connect to a single, shared physical link through which all data transmissions are sent. All traffic is broadcast so that all devices within the topology receive every transmission. The devices within a single Ethernet topology make up a broadcast domain.
Ethernet uses best-effort delivery to broadcast traffic. The physical hardware provides no information to the sender about whether the traffic was received. If the receiving host is offline, traffic to the host is lost. Although the Ethernet data link protocol does not inform the sender about lost packets, higher layer protocols such as TCP/IP might provide this type of notification.
Ethernet Access Control and Transmission: Ethernet's access control is distributed because Ethernet has no central mechanism that grants access to the physical medium within the network. Instead, Ethernet uses carrier-sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD). Because multiple devices on an Ethernet network can access the physical medium, or wire, simultaneously, each device must determine whether the physical medium is in use. Each host listens on the wire to determine if a message is being transmitted. If it detects no transmission, the host begins transmitting its own data.The length of each transmission is determined by fixed Ethernet packet sizes. By fixing the length of each transmission and enforcing a minimum idle time between transmissions, Ethernet ensures that no pair of communicating devices on the network can monopolize the wire and block others from sending and receiving traffic.
Collisions and Detection
When a device on an Ethernet network begins transmitting data, the data takes a finite amount of time to reach all hosts on the network. Because of this delay, or latency, in transmitting traffic, a device might detect an idle state on the wire just as another device initially begins its transmission. As a result, two devices might send traffic across a single wire at the same time. When the two electrical signals collide, they become scrambled so that both transmissions are effectively lost.
To handle collisions, Ethernet devices monitor the link while they are transmitting data. The monitoring process is known as collision detection. If a device detects a foreign signal while it is transmitting, it terminates the transmission and attempts to transmit again only after detecting an idle state on the wire. Collisions continue to occur if two colliding devices both wait the same amount of time before re transmitting. To avoid this condition, Ethernet devices use a binary exponential backoff algorithm.