Difference Between Fast Ethernet vs. Gigabit Ethernet


Main Difference

Ethernet is a Local Area Network, which is used to connect different people working at a place. It is opposite of the internet which is for the use of individuals who want to surf on their own. Ethernet helps people work in a group to get the job done at a quick rate. It is the most common used technology in its field and contributes to keeping multiple computers connected to each other or to one central computer and is mostly used in different organizations where several people are performing a task. Many types of Ethernet are there for use, but there are two main types of Ethernet which are currently more frequently used, they are Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. Both have some similarities and differences between them, the latter ones will be discussed in this paragraph. The simplest of difference between them is their speed. An Ethernet, which is working at the speed of 100 Mbps, is known as Fast Ethernet while the one which is operating at 1000 Mbps is known as Gigabit Ethernet. This is the basis of why they are named differently even when they both use the same bandwidths and modes such as half and duplex. A gigabit Ethernet works 10 times faster than a fast Ethernet. It can also be assumed that a quick card can run on speed such as 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps while a gigabit card can run at speeds such as 10, 100 and 1000 Mbps respectively. Because of these features, gigabit is costlier than the fast one. If someone wants to upgrade from quick to gigabit Ethernet, it won’t cost them much, and the process will be simple. If the up gradation is from gigabit to fast one, it can cost a lot more, and the process will be complicated. That said, there are more connectivity and networking problems in the gigabit version because most of the technologies are still to upgrade them to the standard of working at such high speeds. Most of the fast internet works at a frequency of 125 MHZ while the rate of Gigabit is slightly higher.


Comparison Chart

Fast EthernetGigabit Ethernet
DefinitionEthernet which runs at the maximum speed of 100 MbpsThe one who works at the speed of 1000 Mbps
RangeHas a range of 10 kmHas the limit of 70km
ConfigurationLess complicated in configurationMore configuration errors in gigabit Ethernet
RelationCannot work as GigabitCan work as fast

Definition of Fast Ethernet

Most of the properties of a quick card are the same as the previous 10 Mbps version, but the main difference is the delay which has decreased considerably from 51.3 milliseconds to 5.12 milliseconds. This has led to an increase of speed which is 10 times more than the previous version. An Ethernet, which has a speed of 100 Mbps, is known as fast Ethernet. It makes use of 10BaseT which results in faster speeds and fewer delays. It came into the market in 1995 and has different features such as it has several PHY layers. There are original Ethernet MAC operators still in this version, but they are higher in speed. The length of wire network can be up to 10 km. There was less delay as comparison to the previous versions which gave it the advantage over others.


Definition of Gigabit Ethernet

Simplest of the definition of this type of Ethernet is that is works at the speed of 1000 Mbps, therefore, got the name gigabit. It uses a frame format of 803.2 and also has half duplex and full duplex modes of working. The maximum length of this system can be up to 70 km therefore most universities and bigger branches use this. It has different versions of itself such as 1, 10, 40 and 100 gigabits where the system works on this speed per second. It also has a different CSMA/CD and farming format while the physical outworking is also variable. The slot time is higher too and can reach 512.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. An Ethernet which runs at the maximum speed of 100 Mbps is known as Fast Ethernet while the one who works at the speed of 1000 Mbps is known as Gigabit Ethernet.
  2. There is more delay in the fast Ethernet while the delay in Gigabit version is less.
  3. Fast Ethernet has a range of 10 km while a Gigabit Ethernet has the limit of 70km.
  4. Fast Ethernet is less complicated in configuration while there are more configuration errors in gigabit Ethernet.
  5. A gigabit Ethernet can work on fast Ethernet, but vice versa is not possible.


Ethernet is a system which helps people gain privacy over the internet but there are different types of it which have different uses. This article has looked upon the two such types and explained them in a proper way so that a person who wants to make use of them can know what they are looking for in terms of specifications.