What is a gigabit network? Originally Ethernet came out with a speed of 10 Mbps. In 1995 fast Ethernet was standardized at 100 Mbps. Many networks and computers still run on fast Ethernet today. Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps) was standardized in 1999 for use over Cat5e (copper wire). Early on gigabit networks were too costly and often times unnecessary for small networks. Today most new computers come with gigabit capable adapters and gigabit network hardware is very affordable. With today's high demand network applications and file servers, gigabit speeds are a must.