Ethernet devices must allow a minimum idle period between transmission of Ethernet frames known as the interframe gap (IFG), interframe spacing, or interpacket gap (IPG). A brief recovery time between frames allows devices to prepare for reception of the next frame. The minimum interframe gap is 96 bit times (the time it takes to transmit 96 bits of raw data on the medium), which is 9.6 µs for 10 Mbit/s Ethernet, 0.96 µs for 100 Mbit/s (fast) Ethernet, 0.096 µs for 1 Gbit/s (gigabit) Ethernet, and 0.0096 µs for 10 Gbit/s (10 gigabit) Ethernet.
Several adapter manufacturers design their adapters with a smaller interframe gap for higher data transfer rates, which can lead to a high rate of collisions. An example is Intel EtherExpress 100B.
IFG Shrinking is allowed on repeaters towards the DTE (Data terminal equipment) and MII (Media Independent Interface) into the MAC (Media Access Control). This is to account for variable network delays, added preamble bits, and clock tolerances.
On reception, some interframe gaps may be smaller due to variable network delays, clock tolerances, and the presence of repeaters.