50 years of Ethernet

50 years ago, Robert Metcalfe (who was working at Xerox PARC in 1973), wrote the first memo (titled “Alto Ethernet”) outlining what would become the ubiquitous Ethernet protocol! The idea was first documented in a memo that Metcalfe wrote on May 22, 1973.

first ethernet cable

In 1979 he started a little company called 3com.
Ethernet was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 1983 as IEEE 802.3. Ethernet has since been refined to support higher bit rates, a greater number of nodes, and longer link distances, but retains much backward compatibility. Over time, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies.

1 Comment

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    happy 50th Birthday ETHERnet!

    computerphile explains how more than one machine can talk on the network at a time the whole wire has to be silent with only one signal on the wire at a time. If any other signal exists, then no-one may speak — but will wait a random interval to attempt to speak again (because only one packet may be spoken, and we know how long that takes) — the whole thing is patterened on Claude Shannon’s notion of a BIT — on may.22.1973 Bob Metcalfe proposed an ETHER Network which ‘Propagates Bits to All Stations’. coupled with this first physical layer definition, the notion of multiple machines on a single wire treating signals digitally instead of as analogue audio or radio data, and the notion of an ethernet Packet (a bunch of BITS) which has a originating IP (internet protocol) and destination IP address — and every packet of data in the network traverses the wandering saleman’s problem — this is where the modern world of networking was born https://youtu.be/TkOVgkcrvbg


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