Ethernet is a widely-used cable-based technology for transmitting very large amounts of electronic data between units of equipment within a LAN (local area network) and as such can be found in all forms of computing technology across every aspect of modern life.
Capable of transmitting at rates of 10 MB per second and more (versus 0.25 MB p/s for NMEA 2000) it can play a valuable role with marine electronics that process high volumes of data, for example Radar, electronic charts and weather overlay information, and it is now common to find such units that now offer both Ethernet and NMEA 2000 connectivity.
However there is no marine standard for Ethernet and equipment from different manufacturers may not be able to communicate with each other. In addition, unlike NMEA 2000, ethernet does not have the ability to prioritise the transmission of critical data and so is not recommended for applications such as steering or throttle that require a near-instant response.
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