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The 5-4-3-2-1 rule embodies a simple recipe for network design.

It may not be ea sy to find examples in practice, but this rule neatly ties together several impo rtant elements of design theory. To understand this rule, it's first necessary to understand the concepts of coll ision domains and propagation delay. Collision domains are portions of a network . When a network packet is transmitted over Ethernet, for example, it is possibl e for another packet from a different source to be transmitted close enough in t ime to the first packet to cause a collision on the wire. The total range over w hich a packet can travel and potentially collide with another is its collision d omain. Propagation delays are a property of the physical medium (e.g., Ethernet). Propa gation delays help determine how much of a time difference between the sending o f two packets on a collision domain is "close enough" to actually cause a collis ion. The greater the propagation delay, the increased likelihood of collisons. The 5-4-3-2-1 rule limits the range of a collision domain by limiting the propag ation delay to a "reasonable" amount of time. The rule breaks down as follows: 5 - the 4 - the n 3 - the hed 2 - the 1 - the Because is rule number of network segments number of repeaters needed to join the segments into one collision domai number of network segments that have active (transmitting) devices attac number of segments that do not have active devices attached number of collision domains the last two elements of the recipe follow naturally from the others, th is sometimes also known as the "5-4-3" rule for short.

Ethernet and IEEE 802.3 implement a rule, known as the 5-4-3 rule, for the numbe r of repeaters and segments on shared access Ethernet backbones in a tree topolo gy. The 5-4-3 rule divides the network into two types of physical segments: popu lated (user) segments, and unpopulated (link) segments. User segments have users ' systems connected to them. Link segments are used to connect the network's rep eaters together. The rule mandates that between any two nodes on the network, th ere can only be a maximum of five segments, connected through four repeaters, or concentrators, and only three of the five segments may contain user connections . The Ethernet protocol requires that a signal sent out over the LAN reach every p art of the network within a specified length of time. The 5-4-3 rule ensures thi s. Each repeater that a signal goes through adds a small amount of time to the p rocess, so the rule is designed to minimize transmission times of the signals. The 5-4-3 rule -- which was created when Ethernet, 10Base5, and 10Base2 were the only types of Ethernet network available -- only applies to shared-access Ether net backbones. A switched Ethernet network should be exempt from the 5-4-3 rule because each switch has a buffer to temporarily store data and all nodes can acc ess a switched Ethernet LAN simultaneously. 10Base-2 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over coaxial cable with a maximum distance of 185 meters. Also referred to as Thin Ethernet or Thinnet or Thinwire. 10Base-5 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over coaxial cable with a maximum distance of 500 meters. Also referred to as Thick Ethernet or Thicknet or Thickwire. 10Base-36 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over multi-channel coaxial cable with a maxi mum distance of 3,600 meters. 10Base-F 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over optical fiber.

10Base-FB 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two multi-mode optical fibers using a s ynchronous active hub. 10Base-FL 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two optical fibers and can include an o ptional asynchronous hub. 10Base-FP 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two optical fibers using a passive hub to connect communication devices. 10Base-T 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over twisted pair cables with a maximum lengt h of 100 meters. 10Broad-36 10 Mbps baseband Ethernet over three channels of a cable television s ystem with a maximum cable length of 3,600 meters. 10Gigabit Ethernet Ethernet at 10 billion bits per second over optical fiber. Mu ltimode fiber supports distances up to 300 meters; single mode fiber supports di stances up to 40 kilometers. 100Base-FX 100 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two multimode optical fibers. 100Base-T 100 Mbps baseband Ethernet over twisted pair cable. 100Base-T2 100 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two pairs of Category 3 or higher uns hielded twisted pair cable. 100Base-T4 100 Mbps baseband Ethernet over four pairs of Category 3 or higher un shielded twisted pair cable. 100Base-TX 100 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two pairs of shielded twisted pair or Category 4 twisted pair cable. 100Base-X A generic name for 100 Mbps Ethernet systems. 1000Base-CX 1000 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two pairs of 150 shielded twisted p air cable. 1000Base-LX 1000 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two multimode or single-mode optica l fibers using longwave laser optics. 1000Base-SX 1000 Mbps baseband Ethernet over two multimode optical fibers using shortwave laser optics. 1000Base-T 1000 Mbps baseband Ethernet over four pairs of Category 5 unshielded twisted pair cable. 1000Base-X A generic name for 1000 Mbps Ethernet systems