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The History of Ethernet

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the facilitating-the-internets dept.

Networking 322

Z34107 tips an article at Ars about the history of ethernet, from its humble beginnings at Xerox PARC in the mid-'70s, to its standardization and broad adoption, to the never-ending quest for higher throughput. Quoting: "It's hard to believe now, but in the early 1980s, 10Mbps Ethernet was very fast. Think about it: is there any other 30-year-old technology still present in current computers? 300 baud modems? 500 ns memory? Daisy wheel printers? But even today, 10Mbps is not an entirely unusable speed, and it's still part of the 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet interfaces in our computers. Still, by the early 1990s, Ethernet didn't feel as fast as it did a decade earlier. Consider the VAX-11/780, a machine released in 1977 by Digital Equipment Corporation. The 780 comes with some 2MB RAM and runs at 5MHz. Its speed is almost exactly one MIPS and it executes 1757 dhrystones per second. (Dhrystone is a CPU benchmark developed in 1984; the name is a play on the even older Whetstone benchmark.) A current Intel i7 machine may run at 3GHz and have 3GB RAM, executing nearly 17 million dhrystones per second. If network speeds had increased as fast as processor speeds, the i7 would today at least have a 10Gbps network interface, and perhaps a 100Gbps one."

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Frequencies and illness. (0, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775226)


This had me thinking about a presentation at a seminar in Phoenix a few years ago. It went along the lines that exposure to high frequency electromagnetic radiation increased the risk of cancers and subluxation.

Back in the early days, 10 Mbits is low frequency. 10 million bits is 10 MHz. 100 Mbits is 10 times that and gigabit is 1 BILLION hertz.

No wonder IT workers are some of the most diagnosed workgroup with life threatening vertebral subluxation.

Take a break from your computers, get some fresh air, exercise, eat a vegan diet and make sure your nervous system is well adjusted!

Take care!
Bob

Re:Frequencies and illness. (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775370)

you are a refreshing troll, keep up the good work !

Re:Frequencies and illness. (0)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775460)


There is nothing "troll"ish about wanting to help people be healthy.
Open your mind just a wee bit!

Re:Frequencies and illness. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775496)

I don't need to as cocaine (a drug that the big pharma complex despise) fix my subluxation better than any chiropractic doctor.

Re:Frequencies and illness. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775556)

Colloidal silver will save us all!

Also get rid of all technology because EM is draining your soul....

Re:Frequencies and illness. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775616)

I opened my mind, weighed up all the evidence I could find, and concluded you're full of shit.

Re:Frequencies and illness. (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775938)

I'm with you. I think the guy's a genius. Better than the Recipie Troll, Helen Keller and the SCO licensing guy all rolled into one. Dr. Bob is funny, on-topic (in his hilariously off-topic way) and damn smart. Plus, he's somehow got a gift for frist-psotting, as well. I hope he keeps visiting us for a long time to come.

Mods, Dr. Bob deserves an "informative"!

Re:Frequencies and illness. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775542)

Fuck off, you off-topic quack.

We don't need pipes that big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775250)

In fact, unless you are playing battlefield or photoshop, those processing cores and all their clock cycles are not being used.

Re:We don't need pipes that big (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775316)

Yea, I agree totally, we don't need fast processing or networking.... except for those times where we do. That's why I bought a car with a top speed of 30 miles per hour. I mean, I don't need a car that can go faster, except for when I'm driving on a road with a higher speed limit. In fact, I buy everything with a maximum capacity of my average use, rather than my peak use. That's why my house has zero bedrooms and zero bathrooms. I worked out the math, and I don't use either one of those stupid things anywhere near 50% of the time.

I can think of one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775286)

DHCP is, unfortunately, still in full glaring view. An address assignment protocol that doesn't let the server force a new address? Who does that?!

Re:I can think of one... (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775704)

How is the server going to force the client to change its address?

Most major (and properly configured) networks tend to ignore traffic from the wrong IP address on the wrong physical port (so if the DHCP server tells you that your lease expired and your new address is xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx then you just won't be able to use your old address anyway).

Re:I can think of one... (2)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775868)

There's really not much wrong with DHCP. Mature networks offer contracts with durations to clients and then honor them. This is to prevent the client from having to do expensive processing to deal with having the rug pulled out from under it, as well as a recognition that good networks don't just fall away on a whim. A lot needs to happen when an IP address changes, not the least of which is severing and rebuilding any active connections, which must invoke every application owning a connection. If you need to move clients around frequently, you're probably doing something wrong, but you can always reduce your lease time.

Breaking news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775288)

Technology advances, things become obsolete. Full story at 11.

Yet my i7... (3, Funny)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775296)

...does not feel much faster than my MacPlus, because operating system and software makers managed to slow everything down again using "advanced software engineering techniques."

Re:Yet my i7... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775330)

Wouldn't have anything to do with the word count of the bus on that system would it? ;)

Re:Yet my i7... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775428)

Odd. My Athlon II x4 feels much, much faster than my old 486 DX2. I was running SuSE on the 486 and running Debian 6.0 on my current machine. Running things like GIMP or Povray was way more painful on the 486.

Re:Yet my i7... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775464)

I believe this is related to a technical problem known as "selective memory". Fire up that MacPlus sometime and tell me it feels the same as your i7.

Re:Yet my i7... (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775562)

Nope, I don't think it's selective memory. Granted, the floppy disk that is awfully slow. But once a program is in memory it feels as snappy as a corresponding app on my i7 machine. Tested with an old version of Word running on Mac OS 6.

However, perhaps surprisingly, the keyboard of my i7 machine is better than the MacPlus keyboard. That's because I'm using a Unicomp Spacesaver. :)

Re:Yet my i7... (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775564)

AC has it right. Mod up.

Re:Yet my i7... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775504)

I'm guessing that cool toys like "Actual memory protection so that the stability of the system doesn't depend on every last scrap of code behaving itself", "Not having to use a 512x324 display", and "Not costing $2600" probably help dull the pain a bit...

Re:Yet my i7... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775922)

and "Not costing $2600" probably help dull the pain a bit...

You forgot to account for inflation. $2600 in the 80s is probably worth about $10,000 now, or more.

Can you imagine spending even $5k for a computer now? Or $2k?

Re:Yet my i7... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775656)

Moore's Law *: Every 18 months the speed of hardware doubles
Gates's Law: Every 18 months the speed of software halves

* Yes, I know. Don't be pedantic.

Re:Yet my i7... (2)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775978)

It's actually got worse:
I have to wait for my satellite receiver/PVR box to boot; I used to be able to turn on my VCR and it instantly responded.
I press an eject button on a cassette player it spits it out as if it can't serve me fast enough. A DVD player listens to you, thinks about it and maybe it it hasn't crashed slowly trundles out the tray.
I unlock my mobile phone, wait for the screen to respond, open up the call app, and then a second or so later start to dial. Compare to the old phones.
It seems that we're slowly being conditioned to accept waiting for technology to think. I don't know why this is acceptable.
Okay fine I'm being unfair you say?
Compare the responsiveness of an Amiga to a modern PC.
Compare using dos to file manager on windows 7. I can type dir and get the result faster than modern PC can do that (on a directory with a few hundred files in, if they are media files it can take a few seconds even f there are only a few dozen of them).
Are things better/more productive now? Arguably yes, is there enough emphasis on the human is the boss arguably not.

Re:Yet my i7... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775818)

I'm guessing you're using the fantasticly slow Windows 7 or even worse, Vista.

Try installing Linux / Ubuntu, or XP. Then you'd see the difference

Re:Yet my i7... (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775864)

I'm using Ubuntu

Ethernet was over-specced (5, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775308)

10Mbps was huge at the time. It was much faster (proportional to need) than any of the other components in a computer system. So it's not really surprising that it hasn't quite kept pace. Many home networks are still 10Mbps, and that's plenty for two or three computers.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775416)

Many home networks are still 10Mbps, and that's plenty for two or three computers.

Copy a 500GB system image to a NAS over 10Mbit and get back to me (should take about 4.7 days). Even 100Mbit is hardly enough for home use. Gigabit is adequate for the next couple years, but will soon be anemic if multiple TB are stored.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775474)

Gigabit is adequate for the next couple years, but will soon be anemic if multiple TB are stored.

I have gigabit at home but I've been thinking about how nice ten gigabit would be; it's only because the hard drives can't support much more than gigabit speeds when copying between machines that I haven't looked at faster connections yet.

I can't imagine copying big files at 10Mbps these days.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775534)

Copy a 500GB system image to a NAS over 10Mbit and get back to me (should take about 4.7 days).

... because that's a common use case for your average home user?

Yes, for *you* a half-duplex 10Mbps connection is way too slow. When you're at most sharing a 1.5Mbps DSL internet connection and a printer, 10Mbps is adequate (not that you can actually find much hardware for that anymore) and 100Mbps is good.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775592)

Arguably, it depends on how the ethernet is being used:

Given the pathetic state of Internet connections, 10Mb ethernet would barely be noticed by a substantial proportion of households in the capacity of a basic internet connection sharing, possibly with a light side of network printing, mechanism. Heck, with the nicer contemporary serial chipsets, PPP would probably be enough, if harder to configure...

For fileserving, even GigE is merely OK. Not actively painful; but only cheap and nasty disks will make internal and networked storage functionally indistinguishable.

As some kind of 'fabric' that blurs the lines between internal busses and external busses, longer cables will always suffer from latency issues; but Ethernet is painfully inadequate(if a whole hell of a lot cheaper than infiniband or myranet). Since, outside of specialty applications, the software ecosystem for taking multiple computers connected by fast interconnects and treating them as a unified system is Definitely. Not. Fully. Baked. Yet. that one doesn't really hurt it much.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775678)

I'm copying .9 TB over wireless at the moment to my NAS. Its taking ages.

Do I mind, not much really, I am at work and I am not in a hurry. It just rumbles along in the background....

Hopefully next month it'll be completed, party!

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (3, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775828)

I think you're missing the OP's point. When (10Mb) Ethernet was specced, 500GB was more data storage than there was on the planet, and by a lot, not by a little. In a way, 10Mb/s is like the 32-bit IP address thing, it was way-mega overkill at the time, but seems kind of puny today on a global scale, yet still works perfectly adequately on small to medium sized networks.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775836)

That's actually part of the "problem": back then, 500GB didn't exist. People stored things on floppies - 1.4MB.

I'd wager that the biggest change is bloat. Our files were simple text files and easily sent back and forth. Now, even empty Word files would choke an old dial-up line, never mind the graphics, video, and Flash that are part of nearly every modern web page.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775486)

Original Ethernet was a shared media network, and the "excess" bandwidth enabled a simple but robust multi-access protocol. Now that switched point-to-point "Base-T" is the norm, the same wire protocols can support computers that utilize full wire speed, versus the fraction of 10Mbps that a VAX could use.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

QBasicer (781745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775584)

How is 10Mbps plenty? 10Mbps internet connections are becoming more common, I currently pay for 15 but average about 30Mbps. That's only going to keep increasing.

But that's off topic. 10Mbps was infact really fast, and yes most likely over-specced. 1Gbps is really nice, there's not much need for anything faster to the end machine right now, at least not in the home or small business area. My switch is 1Gbps but has 10Gbps switching fabic, it seems completely sufficient for anything I need now and going forward for at least 4 years.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775878)

1Gbps is pretty decent, but for a lot of modern file sharing, it's a bottleneck. My disk-based home fileserver can transfer at several times that, and even my desktop's SSD (which can likely be had for $200-300 today) can double that.

Do I *need* to be able to copy files at 250MB/s or 500MB/s instead of 125MB/s? No, but it's just as hard to argue that I need 1 Gbps instead of 100 Mbps. Point is, 1 Gbps is a bottleneck for an increasingly large number of consumers now, not 4 years from now.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775622)

10mbps is about what most people get on wireless-G (real world throughput) and they don't even really notice. Typical home use involves internet usage and the occasional large file transfer. 10mbps is entirely usable for most people.

I always also thought 650megs for a CD was unusually large at the time. Especially considering that at the time data CDROMs came out we were all still using floppies and the occasional pricey 100meg zip drive you had to carry around because no one else owned one.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775950)

650 meg CDs were unusually large. Heck, my first computer with a 2x CD-ROM drive had a 160MB hard disk. But one of the wonderful things about such an enormous capacity media is that it suddenly enabled a huge range of things that weren't possible before.

Myst? The Seventh Guest? Computer encyclopedias? None of this was really feasible before. Sure, a game like Myst looks bloated today because modern multimedia compression could offer significantly better quality in far less space (Cinepak, how I loathed and loved you), but at the time it enabled computers to access content that you could never have achieved with floppy disks.

Re:Ethernet was over-specced (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775934)

10Mbps was shared bandwidth. If you divide that among 100 users, the effective speed drops quickly. Plus, there are collisions and retries. If a shared Ethernet network had too many users, no one could communicate. It wasn't until switches turned the shared network into a star configuration, that 10Mbps was really achieved.

A: yes. (2)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775312)

Q: is there any other 30-year-old technology still present in current computers?

What about SCSI? or RS-232? not as omnipresent as Ethernet but still more or less common. Happy birthday Ethernet, but you are not the only remaining dinosaur...

Re:A: yes. (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775390)

I still use an RS-232 interface daily for the UV spectrometer in the instrument room. I don't even think it goes through a serial/USB converter, unlike the one on the lab microwave reactor.

There's a lot to be said for simple, well tested interfaces if you don't need massive throughput.

Router and firewall console ports are still RS232 (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775902)

Of course, 9600 baud was really fast back then, and some of them today use 115200 instead. You could crank a Unibus up to 9600 or maybe even 19200 if you had the I/O processor card (KMC?).

Re:A: yes. (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775440)

300 baud modems? 500 ns memory? Daisy wheel printers?

All of these (modems, memory, printers) exist in modern computing in faster updated form, just like ethernet.

Re:A: yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775494)

VGA? PS/2? Guy must use a Mac.

Re:A: yes. (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775510)

the TRS connectors we use for our basic Audio output have been around for about 100 years (the patent on the first design was 1907). The three-plug (red/white/yellow) RCA connector has been around since the 1940s (although that's normally only found on specialised kit).

S-Video and VGA were 1987, so they don't quite hit the 30 years but they're still pretty old.

Re:A: yes. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775576)

VGA existed before that. 5BNC video was very common the hd15 plug is simply the consumer version.

Re:A: yes. (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775602)

the wheel wins every one of them, and bashing tools predate even that!

Re:A: yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775596)

Fax machines. You can still get a fax card for a computer. I remember going to my dad's office in the late 1970's and watch him sending a Fax to his central office. The fax machine in our accounting department still uses a 14.4kps modem.

Why didn't fax machine manufacturers ever upgrade the modems to 56k?

Looking at a recently-purchased computer now (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775724)

Serial port - slightly improved over 1980 serial ports, but still compatible
Parallel port - slightly improved over early-1980s parallel port, but still compatible
Keyboard - DIN8 instead of DIN5 and different layout and "softer," but otherwise similar to 1980. Still compatible with a cheap adapter.
Video output connector - VGA, circa 1987, but improved in many ways. Still compatible.
DVD burner - the "cd read" functionality came to computers in the late 1980s, to music several years earlier. Can still read early-80s-standard music CDs.

Oh, and it gets even better:

Hard drive - descended from hard drives in the 1960s. SATA protocols descended from SCSI protocols dating from '80s or earlier.
Power supply - many components are technically equivalent to pre-1980s tech.
Screws, fans, and other case hardware - basic tech predates moon landing.
Standard-shape AC power cable dates back farther than I can remember.

Some other computers of this vintage have built-in floppy and PATA ports. PATA descended from the old IDE standard of the late 1980s or very early 1990s. I don't know if it maintained compatibility or not. On some recent computers you can still run a vintage-early-80s 5 1/4" floppy drive through the motherboard's floppy adapter.

I could go on but I'll stop here.

Hey, if it works, it's efficient, and it's cheap, there may not be any reason to improve it. I don't know about you, but one of my favorite data-recording devices is a pencil and notepad, both of which predate the moon landing by far.

Re:Looking at a recently-purchased computer now (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775944)

Serial port - slightly improved over 1980 serial ports, but still compatible

My new motherboard doesn't have one.

Parallel port - slightly improved over early-1980s parallel port, but still compatible

My new motherboard doesn't have one.

Keyboard - DIN8 instead of DIN5 and different layout and "softer," but otherwise similar to 1980. Still compatible with a cheap adapter.

My new motherboard doesn't have one. It's USB-only.

Video output connector - VGA, circa 1987, but improved in many ways. Still compatible.

VGA isn't 1981 technology, though it's not far off.

DVD burner - the "cd read" functionality came to computers in the late 1980s, to music several years earlier. Can still read early-80s-standard music CDs.

Again, CD-ROMs weren't 1981 technology. CDs weren't even around in 1981, were they? I don't remember seeing them until the mid 80s.

Hard drive - descended from hard drives in the 1960s. SATA protocols descended from SCSI protocols dating from '80s or earlier.

You can't plug a SATA cable into a hard drive from 1981. Even if you could, I don't believe the PATA protocols are that old and I'm not sure SATA supports the non-DMA protocols?

Power supply - many components are technically equivalent to pre-1980s tech.

I would be surprsied if you could plug a 1981 PSU into a modern motherboard or vice-versa.

Screws, fans, and other case hardware - basic tech predates moon landing.
Standard-shape AC power cable dates back farther than I can remember.

True, the AC cables haven't changed.

The Fan is about the same. And Tech Journalists. (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775848)

The fan in your desktop PC hasn't changed much since then. (It's a lot different from your laptop fan, or the fans in a VAX 11/780.) And the VAX didn't "come with 2MB" of RAM or have a speed of about 1 MIPS. The canonical definition of 1 MIPS was "as fast as a VAX 11/780", and you could get different amounts of RAM; mine had 4MB in two cabinets. Princeton University's Massive Memory Machine Project later had a VAX 11/785 with 128 MB of RAM, so they could experiment with what you could do if you had "enough" memory (128MB wasn't really quite enough, but it was all you could fit in a VAX expanded to 10 cabinets. :-)

30-year-old technology still present... (1)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775314)

Keyboards? The plug on the end changed...the keys stayed the same.

Re:30-year-old technology still present... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775332)

And some people (like me) use mechanically actuated keyboards, which still click just like the ones from 30 years ago.

Re:30-year-old technology still present... (1)

f8l_0e (775982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775484)

Let me save the rest of you a bunch of time. "Nothing compares to my Model M..." "I spent 300 dollars on my Cherry and it is still worth every penny..." Ad naseum, ad infinitum. btw: I miss my PS/2 selectric touch keyboard.

Re:30-year-old technology still present... (1)

omkhar (167195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775396)

TCP/IP
FTP
The Internet
email

Re:30-year-old technology still present... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775698)

And you'd be surprised how well the older flavors have hung on: AT is a simple mechanical adapter away from working with PS/2, and there are plenty of desktops on the shelves today with PS/2 ports, and laptops on the shelves that, while the internal wiring is purely proprietary, still have PS/2 mice and keyboards at a protocol level.(even ADB made a surprisingly late last stand in laptops, only dying for good in 2005...)

Re:30-year-old technology still present... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775926)

Binary.

10 Mbps ought to be good enough for anybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775322)

Besides, most people will have rich content like Encarta delivered on CD-ROMs at home, or from the file server at the office using LAN Manager. They'll have information at their fingertips, that's the road ahead.

Re:10 Mbps ought to be good enough for anybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775520)

I never have read that book. I assume by now it's pointless, except perhaps for a chuckle.

Get off my lawn! (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775326)

It's hard to believe, but how many of you fuckers were even born yet in the early 1980s?!

Re:Get off my lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775362)

... So?

Re:Get off my lawn! (1)

asto21 (1797450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775860)

That only works with a sufficiently small UID

Re:Get off my lawn! (2)

es330td (964170) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775866)

Not only had I been born, I had written a Basic program to generate D&D character stats by 1980. Yes, my PUBLIC elementary school had some forward thinking administrators.

Unusable? (1)

tapspace (2368622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775348)

10Mbps is not an entirely unusable speed? That's .... Fast Ethernet!

Re:Unusable? (1)

egamma (572162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775492)

10Mbps is not an entirely unusable speed? That's .... Fast Ethernet!

10Mbps is Ethernet, 100Mbps is Fast Ethernet.

Re:Unusable? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775660)

So what's 10Gbps? Ludicrous speed Ethernet?

10 base works fine (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775398)

if the situation needs, I got pissed off at our IT dude trying to bounce a wifi signal over 5 repeaters though real 3 hour fire walls and steel beams, I swiped a box of cat3 out of the storage closet and even though its 10mbs, that's 10x faster than our internet and I don't have to hear "my email doesn't work" 50 fucking times a day

Really /.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775406)

Did you really just explain "Dhrystone" to us?

Floppy and IDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775410)

One is 30 years old, the other is almost 30 years old, and both are still available for many PCs. Yes, I know most don't come with a floppy drive, but if you really want to hook one up, you still can with most systems (not all). The keyboard port, serial port, centronics port are all equally old. Molex connectors are too.

I can think of a lot of 30 year old technology still in common use today...

Re:Floppy and IDE (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775770)

Heck, the (quite definitely still extant) 1/4inch TRS jack was developed in 1878 for telephone exchange patch panels...

Re:Floppy and IDE (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775906)

Floppy is more common on boards than PATA nowadays in my anecdotal experience.

1980's internet: A Porn movie.... (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775456)

.... was the loading of a still image.

Re:1980's internet: A Porn movie.... (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775506)

.... was the loading of a still image.

I disagree. I definitely remember seeing an animated line drawn porn movie being rendered on an EGA display in either '87 or '88. Granted this was the late '80s, but it was still the '80s. The scary thing is how well I can remember the images, including the blue colour palette.

Re:1980's internet: A Porn movie.... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775808)

The was porn on the Apple II in the late 70's.
And definitely lineprinter cheesecake if not actual porn (60's? 50's? teletype?)

I appreciate that ehternet can switch down to 10mb (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775476)

If you have a bad cable/connector, 10MB/s can be much more reliable than 100MB/s.

Re:I appreciate that ehternet can switch down to 1 (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775702)

True. And if 10 MBit/full-duplex isn't working for you, you can always chop that down to 10 MBit/half-duplex if needbe.

Comparing high end to low end (3, Interesting)

milgr (726027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775488)

In the 1980s, ethernet tended to be over Thinnet or Thicknet. I seem to recall speeds of 1-3Mbps over those technologies. Twisted pair came out somewhere around 1990 at 10Mbps.

Today I mostly use 1Gps, but deal with servers that are 10G.40G and 100G will be standard in datacenters in a few years.

The blurb indicates that Ethernet is the only technology that we are using from 30 years ago. Back then all the machines I used had Memory, cpus, displays, and keyboards. The particualr technology changed - just like Ethernet technology's changes.

Re:Comparing high end to low end (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775654)

The blurb indicates that Ethernet is the only technology that we are using from 30 years ago. Back then all the machines I used had Memory, cpus, displays, and keyboards. The particualr technology changed - just like Ethernet technology's changes.

To be fair, you can still plug a modern Ethernet card into a 10Mbps Ethernet network and it will work; the ancient technology is still built into the hardware. You can't plug a Z80 CPU or a 500ns DRAM or a Sinclair rubber keyboard into a modern PC... heck, you can't even plug a PS/2 keyboard into my new server, it has to be USB.

Re:Comparing high end to low end (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775694)

Your point is valid, but to be generous, I think the point of this post is that with appropriate cabling & server setup, a machine from 30 years ago that understood Ethernet could talk to one today. CPUs, memory etc on the other hand didn't survive the years intact - the concept might remain, but the technology behind it is not compatible.

Re:Comparing high end to low end (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775720)

In the 1980s, ethernet tended to be over Thinnet or Thicknet. I seem to recall speeds of 1-3Mbps over those technologies.

Thinnet and thicknet were both 10 megabit.

The big advantage of 10 base T was not speed, it was the fact that the cheap cable made it feasable to star wire it. That lead to higher reliability and the ability to use switches to increase the effective bandwidth by only sending data where it needed to be sent.

The particualr technology changed - just like Ethernet technology's changes.

The great thing about ethernet is that while the technology has changed there is a high degree of compatibility between equipment of different ages. You can take an old peice of test gear with an AUI port, plug a twisted pair transciver into it and hook it up to a network built out of current kit with no problems. Devices with BNC ports need a media converter or a hub with a BNC port which is trickier to find but still not too bad.

Yup, it's fast. (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775502)

10Mbit is still faster than my internet connection. I wouldn't complain, but it seems every streaming site assumes I have at least 5 Mbit and I only have about 1.5. It's amusing to me, because we still have problems with broadband penetration in many parts of the USA and 1.5Mbit is equivalent to the standard T1 speed that many small to medium businesses still use for their WANs.

does everyone really need 100gbps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775532)

i know there are applications that need it but when it came time to look at 10gbps where i work only backups seemed to benefit from it. then we would need to buy all new servers as well.

even our busiest database servers that process tens of millions of requests a day used a few Mbps on average at any given time. they love their 5600 series xeons and 72GB of RAM in them, but don't really need faster networking

Re:does everyone really need 100gbps? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775608)

i know there are applications that need it but when it came time to look at 10gbps where i work only backups seemed to benefit from it. then we would need to buy all new servers as well.

1. Backbones. If you have a big gigabit switch connected to another big gigabit switch you don't want a single gigabit connection between them. Similarly, when computers come with 10Gbps ethernet you won't want a single 10Gpbs connection between the switches.
2. As more computers come with SSDs, the LAN becomes the bottleneck when transferring files, not the disk. 10Gbps should be enough for them for some time though.

Token ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775580)

That's all I'm saying. (Shudder!)

Re:Token ring (1)

jk379 (734476) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775928)

Thicknet with vampire taps ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_tap [wikipedia.org] ) to then connect to the servers via AUI connectors.

is there any other 30-year-old technology ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775668)

>is there any other 30-year-old technology still present in current computers?

Yup it is called SCSI. Now in both parallel (going away) and its serial form (SAS).

Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775706)

I'm gonna link to this on my Gopher! I'll send it up on my uucp upload tonight!

Because there is little need to improve? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775710)

Supply and demand addresses this. We simply do not need a great deal of network speed at this time. For years network bandwidth stagnated simply because no one had a burning need to do more with it. Then our workstations became capable of processing more data faster, thus we moved from 100mbit to 1gig over a very short period of time.

I'd be willing to bet that there is a correlation between HD sizes and network bandwidth, now that I think about it.

Forgot about another... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775718)

Think about it: is there any other 30-year-old technology still present in current computers?

The power cable in a modern desktop is almost identical to ones used 20-30 years ago. Should we be amazed that newer power supplies manage to get more and more power through a cord that was designed so long ago?

10 MBps was fast ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775754)

That 10Mbps Ethernet was hella fast at the time.

Remember, everything was text. No fancy graphics or sounds (except for the single beep tone) ... so a terminal wired right into the mainframe at 9600 baud on a serial line was an absolutely screaming connection. Most people couldn't read at the scroll rate of 9600 baud anyway.

Hell, in 1988 when I started university, we still used line editors ... oddly enough, I think it actually was on a VAX 11/780. With a line editor, a 300 baud modem was a usable speed. My connection from home on dialup was every bit as good as the VT52's in the lab, which was good.

Back then, a 360K floppy held a lot of data, and nobody could figure out what you'd do with the 650MB of a CD. Docs were smaller, and the total amount of data we owned was a tiny fraction of what is now one or two MP3s.

I routinely chuckle at the fact that I've personally paid $700 for 16MB of RAM and $350 for a 325MB hard drive ... now I've got 8GB of RAM and a total of 6TB of disk space in my home computer. My first computer had 16K of RAM, and a CPU speed measured in kHz (single digit).

I think the fact that Ethernet is still around is a testament to the fact that it was a well designed protocol from the beginning, and it has been able to scale.

I can only wait to see what kind of wacky stuff we'll be running in just a few years ... and I'm pretty sure there will still be an 802.x transport layer. :-P

Re:10 MBps was fast ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775918)

Anything that's not changed in the last 10 years probably needs an update. The only way to really be profiting from communication technology is to think about the future and how to improve speeds or compression (both do the same job). It all about making the most from the bandwidth available.

If an alien culture looked at us they would laugh at is sending billions of 0's a 1's around when we could do things much simpler using higher level languages.

Of course there is a lot to be said for caching too as Google analysis / their predictive text has shown that people do have common searches.

I'm still using 10BaseT... and cursing it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775782)

It so happens that it's the fastest way to move music onto my Empeg Car MP3 player.

The player also has a 12mbps "full speed" USB port, but software/packet overhead actually make it slower than using the 10mbps Ethernet port. And I don't even want to think about moving gigs of music onto the player via the provided RS232 port...

Cars? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775856)

If network speeds had increased as fast as processor speeds, the i7 would today at least have a 10Gbps network interface, and perhaps a 100Gbps one.

This sounds similar the the "If cars improved like computers [snopes.com] " joke.

Because of "competition". (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775874)

If network speeds had increased as fast as processor speeds, the i7 would today at least have a 10Gbps network interface, and perhaps a 100Gbps one."

If ISPs were not trying to screw their customers out of every penny 10G networks WOULD be common place.

Time to compare apples to the right fruit... (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775946)

The VAX-11/780 was priced at something like $200,000.

If you buy a comparable computer today, getting 10Gbps interconnects would certainly be a reasonable option.

i7 has an ethernet interface? (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36775964)

I didn't know the i7 cpu even had an ethernet interface; I thought it was the motherboard or the add-on card that gave me my network connection. huh, learn something new everyday

easy question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36775966)

Think about it: is there any other 30-year-old technology still present in current computers?

Microchips, circuit boards, wires,fans,steel, plastic, audio jack sockets, keyboards, speakers, LEDs, On/off switches

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