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AUI Connectors. The male connector (left) is on the MAU and the female connector (right) is on the MAC device (normally either a computer or an Ethernet hub)

The Attachment Unit Interface (AUI) is a physical and logical interface defined in the original IEEE 802.3 standard for 10BASE5 Ethernet[1] and the previous DIX standard. The physical interface consists of a 15-pin D-subminiature connection that provides a path between an Ethernet node's physical signaling and the Medium Attachment Unit (MAU),[2] sometimes also known as a transceiver. An AUI cable may be up to 50 metres (160 feet) long, although frequently the cable is omitted altogether and the MAU and medium access controller MAC are directly attached to one another. On Ethernet implementations without separate MAU and MAC, the AUI is omitted.

AUI connectors became rare beginning in the early 1990s when computers and hubs began to incorporate the MAU, particularly as the 10BASE-T standard became more common and use of 10BASE5 (thicknet) and 10BASE2 (thinnet) declined[citation needed]. The electrical AUI connection was still present inside the equipment. With the introduction of Fast Ethernet the AUI became obsolete, and was replaced by the Media Independent Interface (MII).[3] Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet have respectively the GMII and XGMII interfaces. A 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface called XAUI was developed to extend the operational distance of the XGMII and to reduce the number of interface signals.

A modified form using a smaller connector called the Apple Attachment Unit Interface (AAUI) was introduced on Apple Macintosh computers in 1991, and its use discontinued in 1998.[4]

Connector and signals

AUI Connector with numbered pins on the DEC EtherWorks LC (DE100) Ethernet controller

An AUI connector is a DA-15 (D-subminiature). It has a sliding clip in place of the thumbscrews normally found on a D-connector to hold two connectors together. This clip permits the MAU and MAC to be directly attached to one another even when their size and shape would preclude the use of thumbscrews. This clip is however frequently found to be awkward and/or unreliable.[by whom?]

AUI pinout
Pin Signal Direction Description
03 DO-A AUI→MAU Data Out Circuit A
10 DO-B AUI→MAU Data Out Circuit B
11 DO-S AUI→MAU Data Out Circuit Shield (not used)
05 DI-A MAU→AUI Data In Circuit A
12 DI-B MAU→AUI Data In Circuit B
04 DI-S MAU→AUI Data In Circuit Shield
07 CO-A AUI→MAU Control Out Circuit A (not used)
15 CO-B AUI→MAU Control Out Circuit B (not used)
08 CO-S AUI→MAU Control Out Circuit Shield (not used)
02 CI-A MAU→AUI Control In Circuit A
09 CI-B MAU→AUI Control In Circuit B
01 CI-S MAU→AUI Control In Circuit Shield
06 VC AUI→MAU Voltage Common (0 V)
13 VP AUI→MAU Voltage Plus (+12 V)
14 VS AUI→MAU Voltage Shield (not used)
Shell PG AUI→MAU Protective Ground

References

  1. ^ "IEEE Standard for Ethernet, Section 1, Clause 7". IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  2. ^ IEEE 802.3 7. Physical Signaling (PLS) and Attachment Unit Interface (AUI) specifications
  3. ^ Overview of the XAUI, XLAUI and CAUI: Part1 Archived 2019-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, "...the existing AUI was not suitable and it was replaced by the MII interface..."
  4. ^ Dan, Knight. "Apple's AAUI Ethernet Connector". Retrieved 13 February 2012.