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Ethernet Ports and Connectors

What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is the de-facto standard protocol for networking together a group of computers over a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN). It is so dominant, that it's standard ports and connectors are often just referred to as the "network port" or "network cable".

Identifying an Ethernet Cable

The connector on the end of an ethernet cable is known as an RJ45 connector. It is rectangular in shape, with the actual connection block made of clear plastic, within which a line of eight wires can be seen on the underside. The connector also has a push-down plastic spring clip that locks the connector securely in place, with a snap:

An example RJ45 connector

Identifying an Ethernet Port

Ethernet ports are always female, rectangular in shape, with a square recess at the top or bottom to fit the locking spring connector:

An example Ethernet port

Ethernet ports always have two LED lights next to them (-shown right) indicating the status and activity of the link. These are normally coloured red and green and are useful when diagnosing network connection problems: normally a constant red light shows a connection and a blinking green shows traffic being sent or received. If the green LED stops blinking, that is a sign that no traffic is being sent over the link (-which is normally bad).

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