Short for Attached Resource Computer network, ARCnet is one of the oldest, simplest, and least expensive types of local-area network. ARCnet was introduced by Datapoint Corporation in 1977. It uses a token-ring architecture, supports data rates of 2.5 Mbps, and connects up to 255 computers. A special advantage of ARCnet is that it permits various types of transmission media -- twisted-pair wire, coaxial cable, and fiber optic cable -- to be mixed on the same network.
A new specification, called ARCnet Plus, will support data rates of 20 Mbps.