Ethernet is a shared media, so there are rules for sending packets of data to avoid conflicts and protect data integrity. Nodes determine when the network is available for sending packets. It is possible that two nodes at different locations attempt to send data at the same time. When both PCs are transferring a packet to the network at the same time, a collision will result.
Minimizing collisions is a crucial element in the design and operation of networks. Increased collisions are often the result of too many users on the network, which results in a lot of contention for network bandwidth. This can slow the performance of the network from the user's point of view. Segmenting the network, where a network is divided into different pieces joined together logically with a bridge or switch, is one way of reducing an overcrowded network.
The standards and technology that have just been discussed help define the specific products that network managers use to build Ethernet networks. The following text discusses the key products needed to build an Ethernet LAN.