10BASE2 (also known as cheapernet, thin Ethernet, thinnet, thinwire) is a variant of Ethernet that uses thin coaxial cable (RG-58 or similar, as opposed to the thicker RG-8 cable used in 10BASE5 networks), terminated with BNC connectors, . For many years this was the dominant 10 Mbit/s Ethernet standard, but due to the immense demand for high speed networking, the low cost of Category 5 Ethernet cable, and the popularity of 802.11 wireless networks, both 10BASE2 and 10BASE5 have become almost obsolete.
When wiring a 10BASE2 network, special care has to be taken to ensure that cables are properly connected to all T-connectors, and appropriate terminators are installed. One, and only one, terminator must be connected to ground via a ground wire. Bad contacts or shorts are especially difficult to diagnose, though a time-domain reflectometer will find most problems quickly. A failure at any point of the network cabling tends to prevent all communications. For this reason, 10BASE2 networks could be difficult to maintain and were often replaced by 10BASE-T networks, which (provided category 5 cable or better was used) also provided a good upgrade path to 100BASE-TX. An alternative reliable connection has been established by the introduction of EAD-sockets.
10BASE2 systems do have a number of advantages over 10BASE-T. They do not need the 10BASE-T hub, so the hardware cost is very low, and wiring can be particularly easy since only a single wire run is needed, which can be sourced from the nearest computer. These characteristics mean that 10BASE2 is ideal for a small network of two or three machines, perhaps in a home where easily concealed wiring may be an advantage. For a larger complex office network the difficulties of tracing poor connections make it impractical. Unfortunately for 10BASE2, by the time multiple home computer networks became common, the format had already been practically superseded. As a matter of fact, it is becoming very difficult to find 10BASE2-compatible network cards as distinct pieces of equipment, and integrated LAN controllers on motherboards don't have the connector, although the underlying logic may still be present.
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