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10BASE5 is a technical name for thick Ethernet or thicknet and was the first commercially available variant of Ethernet. The technology was standardized in 1982 as IEEE 802.3. 10BASE5 uses a thick and stiff coaxial cable up to 500 meters (1,600 ft) in length. Up to 100 stations can be connected to the cable using vampire taps and share a single collision domain with 10 Mbit/s of bandwidth shared among them. The system is difficult to install and maintain.

10BASE5 was superseded by much cheaper and more convenient alternatives: first by 10BASE2 based on a thinner coaxial cable, and then, once Ethernet over twisted pair was developed, by 10BASE-T and its successors 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-T. In 2003, the IEEE 802.3 working group deprecated 10BASE5 for new installations.

A 10Base5 network segment (LAN) can consist of a maximum of 100 nodes. Each node connects to the network segment or cable using an N-connector and must have a distance of 2.5m between one another. Nodes can also be connected through a vampire clam that enables adding a new node in a live network.

Defined as per IEEE Standard 802.3. Variant of Ethernet that uses Thicknet coaxial cables.

10 stand for transmission speed in Mega bits per second. 10Mbps.

Base stands for Baseband signal technology.

Cable type: Thick Coaxial cable (yellow color) with extra braided shielding, 50-ohm resistance.  Also called Thicknet. 10BASE5 uses cable type RG(Radio Guide)-8U (U means General Utility Use).   

Cable width: 1cm approx.

Connectors used:

Vampire Tap - A vampire tap (also called a piercing tap fitted with Transceiver) is a device for physically connecting a station, typically a computer, to a network that uses 10BASE5 cabling. This device clamps onto and "bites" into the cable (hence the vampire name), inserting a probe through a hole drilled using a special tool through the outer shielding to contact the inner conductor, while other spikes bite into the outer conductor. The vampire tap usually has an integrated AUI (Attachment Unit Interface), from this a short multicore cable connects to the network card in the station.

Vampire tap types : With or without N Connector.

N Connector - similar to BNC connector used to join/extend coax cables(through Vampire cap). 

Transceiver:  Also called Media Attachment Units (MAU). The help converting the primitive signals from the AUI interface to what’s required on the physical media, as well as performing collision detection. Recommended at every 2.5 to 3 meters.

Length: Maximum supported length is 500metres (1600 ft). The numeral 5 in 10Base5 is taken from this (Length 500meters)

Topology type: Bus Topology. 100 nodes can be connected using 10Base5 coaxial cable in a bus topology.


Disadvantage: Adding new stations to the network is complicated by the need to accurately pierce the cable. The cable is stiff and difficult to bend around corners. One improper connection can take down the whole network and finding the source of the trouble is difficult.

For Further Reading