Ethernet or FastE or Fast Ethernet – is a term for a number of Ethernet standards that carry traffic at a rate of 100 Mbps (megabits per second), against the original Ethernet speed, which was slower, at 10 Mbps. Of the 100 megabit ethernet standards 100baseTX is by far the most common and is supported by the vast majority of ethernet hardware currently produced. For higher bandwidth, when available, businesses have started using gigabit ethernet connections which goes up to 1000 Mbps/1 Gbps.
100BASE-TX runs over two pairs of wires in category 5 cable. A FastE/Ethernet connection is useful for a company that uses lots of bandwidth and needs more than 1 full DS3 line (45 mbps). The local loop can be costly if the location is far from the network provider central office.
It is usually beneficial if it’s in a colocation facility where the local loop is minimized and there may only be a small cross connect charge to install a FastE line. Lately, as there have been more fiber build out by the network providers, ethernet has become more readily available in major cities and starting to be available in more remote areas. The ethernet pricing when available, is oftentimes more cost effective than a DS3 or OC3 service.