Ethernet Topology: the 10BASE-T standard

1545 pts.
Network Topology
Which topology is used by 10BASE-T Ethernet? Hybrid, Star, Bus or Ring?

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10BASE-T Ethernet is a very old standard, found only in very old networks.

The answer to this question can be given by analysing what exactly 10BASE-T means:

<b>10 </b>

The number 10 represents the frequency in MHz (Mega HertZ) for which this cable is made. In this case it is 10 MHz. The greater the MHz, the greater speeds the cable can handle. If you try to use this type of cable for greater frequencies (and, therefore, speeds) then it either will not work or become extremely unreliable. The 10 MHz speed translates to 10Mbit per second, which in theory means 1.2 MBytes per second. In practice though, you wouldn’t get more than 800 KBytes per second.


The word “Base” refers to Baseband. Baseband is the type of communication used by Ethernet and it means that when a computer is transmitting, it uses all the available bandwith, whereas Broadband (cable modems) shares the bandwidth available. This is the reason cable modem users notice a slowdown in speed when they are connected on a busy node, or when their neighbour is downloading all the time at maximum speed ! Of course with Ethernet you will notice a slowdown in speed but it will be smaller in comparison to broadband.

The “T” refers to “Twisted Pair” physical medium that carries the signal. This shows the structure of the cable and tells us it contains pairs which are twisted. For example, UTP has twisted pairs and this is the cable used in such cases. For more information, see the “UTP -Unshielded Twisted Pair” page where you can find information on pinouts for the cables.


A few years ago, the 10 BaseT cables used CAT3 cables, which are used for speeds up to 10Mbit, but today you will find mostly CAT5e and CAT6 cables, which are good for speeds up to 1000 Mhz or 1000Mbit. Only 2 pairs of the UTP cable are used with the 10Base-T specification and the maximum length is 100 meters. Minimum length between nodes is 2.5 meters.

So, since we are talking about UTP cabling, it is obvious that the topology used by 10BASET is the STAR Topology.

For more information on Ethernet Topologies, speeds and protocols, you can visit this site.

<b>Additional Resources:</b>
See SearchNetworking about 10baseT

Discuss This Question: 2  Replies

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  • Brijesh

    The 10Base-T standard also called as Twisted Pair Ethernet. It uses a twisted-pair cable with maximum lengths of 100 meters. The cable is thinner and more flexible than the coaxial cable used for the 10Base-2or 10Base-5 standards.Cables in the 10Base-T system connect with RJ-45 connectors. A star topology is common with 12 or more computers connected directly to a hubor concentrator. The 10Base-T system operates at 10 Mbps and uses baseband transmissionmethods.
    14,450 pointsBadges:
  • xnwv37

    Will my 10 baseT product talk to 10/100 baseF product and if not why?

    Thank you
    10 pointsBadges:

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