Electronic Design

Happy Birthday, Ethernet

Ethernet turned 30 years old this year. According to its inventor, Bob Metcalf, the official beginning of Ethernet was May 22, 1973, when he described the basic idea in a memo he wrote at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. The original version, at 2.94 Mbits/s, used the familiar CSMA/CD access method on RG-8/U coax for a distance of up to one mile. He went on to patent Ethernet for Xerox in 1977. Metcalf then founded 3Com Corp., one of the first manufacturers of Ethernet network products. The IEEE made Ethernet a standard in 1983.

Bob Metcalf knew he had something good, but he didn't have a clue that his creation would become the most widely used local-area-networking (LAN) technology on the planet. With billions of installed ports and over 90% of the world's market share for LAN technology, Ethernet continues its expansion. What makes Ethernet so ubiquitous is its reliability and affordability, as well as the continuing development of speed, security, and quality enhancements. As a result, Ethernet can hold on to its lead and compete with other technologies.

So let's celebrate. After all, it's 5 p.m. somewhere. Long live Ethernet!

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