The switch acts as an interconnection
point for the various computers. It allows simultaneous communications
between pairs of computers, or even broadcasts to multiple computers.
Ethernet, which comes in speed from 10 million bits per second (10
Mbps) to 10 billion bits per second (10 Gbps) is intended for
Most commercial computers will come with a single 10/100 Mbps Ethernet (also known as IEEE 802.3) connector.
If you only have two interconnected computers, you can use a "crossover
cable" and omit the switch. Small switches, however, are
The presence of Ethernet in no way prevents the computers from using serial, USB, or other computer peripheral interfaces.
In some cases, NMEA 0183
or NMEA 2000 devices can be connected to Ethernet by an interface converter/multiplexer.
You can create logical groupings of different functions with Ethernet
, extend the cable distance
, or share an Internet connection
Ethernet also provides a way to have very minimal computer functions elsewhere
on the boat