10Base-T is an adaptation of the IEEE 802.3 standard and is one of several of media types which are also governed by that standard. Also known as Twisted Pair Ethernet, the 10Base-T is a standard for Local Area Networks (LANs).

In simple speak; the 10Base-T is an Ethernet telephone wire which comes in twisted pairs that have a maximum length of 100 meters. The 10Base-T cable is thinner and more malleable than the coaxial cables that are used for other 10Base standards. 10BASE-T can only work on Ethernet using a maximum of 10 Mbps transmission speed and utilizes baseband transmission methods.

The name 10Base-T comes from Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) shorthand naming conventions. The “10” in the media type name denotes the speed of transmission which is 10 Mbps. The identifier “BASE” points to the baseband signaling type which shows that only Ethernet signals are allowed to be transmitted on the 10Base-T medium. The last part of the name, “T”, signifies the twisted nature of the paired wires.

Additionally, 10BASE-T, 10 mbps Ethernet can be employed with these adaptations of media types:

  • 10BASE-2 which is a thin wire coaxial cable that has a maximum length of 185 meters
  • 10BASE-5 which is a thick wire coaxial cable that has a maximum length of 500 meters
  • 10BASE-F which denotes optical fiber cable
  • 10BASE-36 which is a broadband coaxial cable that carries multiple baseband cables that has a maximum length of 3,600 meters

The “F” in 10BASE-F is an indicator of it being a fiber optic cable while the numbers “2”, “5”, and “36” are shorthand for the coaxial cable maximum lengths. (Note that the 185 meter length is rounded up to “2” for 200).

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