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Ethernet Turns 40

timothy posted about a year ago | from the it's-thinking-about-that-optical-sportscar dept.

Networking 159

alancronin writes "Four decades ago the Ethernet protocol made its debut as a way to connect machines in close proximity, today it is the networking layer two protocol of choice for local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and everything in between. For many people Ethernet is merely the RJ45 jack on the back of a laptop, but its relative ubiquity and simplicity belie what Ethernet has done for the networking industry and in turn for consumers and enterprises. Ethernet has in the space of 40 years gone from a technology that many in the industry viewed as something not fit for high bandwidth, dependable communications to the default data link protocol."

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159 comments

Token ring ... (5, Funny)

optikos (1187213) | about a year ago | (#43805419)

... turns over in its grave.

Re:Token ring ... (3, Insightful)

Lennie (16154) | about a year ago | (#43805583)

You might think so, but Token Ring based technolgies are still coming up every now and then, like FCoTR in 2010.

Re:Token ring ... (2)

scotts13 (1371443) | about a year ago | (#43805693)

... turns over in its grave.

(GRIN) At one time, ComputerLand was a big company. The Macintosh IIfx on my desk was the one and only token-ring equipped Mac in the entire outfit. Of course, the card WAS $1500.00...

Re:Token ring ... (4, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43805783)

ATM is the future of networking.

Re:Token ring ... (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#43806111)

>ATM is the future of networking.

But I can't fit the last 11 bytes in the packet.

Re:Token ring ... (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#43806815)

Cell, not packet.

Re:Token ring ... (3, Interesting)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#43807135)

>Cell, not packet.

Just because the same idiots who thought 53 was a sane number of bytes to make packet also thought they had the right to just randomly rename things that standard network terminology calls packets or PDUs, and calls them cells instead.

Let it be known, that when I'm master of the universe, I will not be tolerant of their mistakes.

Re:Token ring ... (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43806129)

ATM

Slashdot is not your personal fetish site! ;)

On a more serious note... Happy Birthday and thanks for the memories.

Re:Token ring ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806155)

Wouldn't connecting ATMs to the Internet make them vulnerable to hackers?

Xerox Parc turns over in it's grave (2)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#43805973)

Yet another technology created a xerox that they never profited from. Yeah for xerox!

Re:Token ring ... (3, Funny)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43806625)

Really the only problem with token ring was that you'd occasionally lose the token and have to stop work and try to hunt it down.

Re:Token ring ... (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#43806901)

That was the old joke. Tell the user the token fell out the back of the computer and is behind their desk somewhere.

Re:Token ring ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806681)

Banyon Vines anyone?

Re:Token ring ... (2)

kasperd (592156) | about a year ago | (#43806889)

Didn't Token ring evolve into a star topology just like Ethernet did? If things had turned out differently, and we had all been using Token ring today, the only notable difference might very well have been the name. How many people actually remember, what Ethernet looked like back when the technology had any resemblance with the name?

Re:Broken thing ... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43806985)

I have a PCMCIA token ring card somewhere. Same physical connector - once spent an hour wondering why it wouldn't connect to an ethernet hub. Because actually looking which card was in there would have been a waste of thirty seconds, right?

LANPARTY! (3, Funny)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#43805497)

Break out the BNCs and coax.

Re:LANPARTY! (3, Interesting)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about a year ago | (#43805743)

Break out the BNCs and coax.

BNC? Break out the AUIs! [wikipedia.org]
10base5 was quite a bit more challenging to install, given that each cable tap had to be at a precise location and required special tools to drill the cable.
Now get off of my LAN!

Re:LANPARTY! (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#43806027)

I've done vampire taps, but I'm really not sure why. They were well before my time. I guess our teacher was just bored in lab that day.

Re:LANPARTY! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43806753)

Yup, when I was doing IT type stuff, it was all vampire taps on expensive and heavy teflon cables. It also felt like a real ethernet in that it was CSMA/CD with one single cable supplying several users. Today most of the ethernet I see are point-to-point cables using full duplex to a distant switch, one cable per computer, thus you've got something like a star network.

Re:LANPARTY! (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43805765)

LAN parties never made much sense to me.

Were you that overly-excited guy going from door to door in the dorms, announcing, "We're having a LAN party! Unplug your computer and bring it down to the 4th floor lounge!" To which I replied, "why don't I just stay here... I'm already connected."

I always felt like the point of having a LAN was so you could be far enough away that I couldn't hear you shrilly giggling about the ginormous zerg rush you were preparing to unleash upon me.

Re:LANPARTY! (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year ago | (#43805803)

With a multiplayer FPS, large parties with CTF or similar team settings were always a blast, esp with the smack talk going on.

We have 2 labs here at work, separated by a sliding glass door. One team on each side, door open enough to hear the smack talk, but not necessarily the instructors from a team or squad type leader.

Re:LANPARTY! (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year ago | (#43805915)

Yeah. Mumble, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo - none are a good replacement for just shouting out loud.

Some of the most fun I've ever had gaming was a DAoC LAN party many years ago - I drove down to visit one of my guildies, and his GF (now wife), some friends, and their GFs (also guildies) were all there. We broke out the beer and the switches and went RvRing the whole weekend. "HIBS INC NW!" sounds so different when shouted in a friends' apartment. :)

Re:LANPARTY! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805917)

Many people who went to LAN parties were also not college students and not living in dorms an. Before high speed internet was a "thing" you had to be on the LAN to get optimal multiplayer. Personally for my LAN culture died off when pings fell below 100ms over the internet instead of the 500-1000ms over 56K

Re:LANPARTY! (1)

Ghostgate (800445) | about a year ago | (#43807737)

Before high speed internet was a "thing" you had to be on the LAN to get optimal multiplayer. Personally for my LAN culture died off when pings fell below 100ms over the internet instead of the 500-1000ms over 56K

You are seriously exaggerating ping times on old dialup connections. I played a lot of Quake in the late 90s and even on my 28.8 modem I could get 200-350ms pings to most servers and 300-500ms to distant servers. I never had 56k because although my ISP offered it, my phone lines then couldn't support it. Also, 200-350 was actually very playable because most other players had similar pings at the time, unless you went to an LPB server. But online multiplayer did thrive even before everyone had a high speed connection.

Re:LANPARTY! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805963)

LAN parties never made much sense to me.

Were you that overly-excited guy going from door to door in the dorms, announcing, "We're having a LAN party! Unplug your computer and bring it down to the 4th floor lounge!" To which I replied, "why don't I just stay here... I'm already connected."

Some of us figured out how to LAN before they taught us how in college... And even before building-wide Ethernet was the norm for homes, offices, dorms, etc, and LONG before internet access with sub-250ms latency was available to anyone outside of a university or major corporation. So yes, there were motivations to LAN before you got to college and decided the best way to spend your time was alone in your dorm room. Bro.

Re:LANPARTY! (1)

NorbMan (829255) | about a year ago | (#43806153)

There always was something dramatic about hearing "NUCLEAR LAUNCH DETECTED" coming from a dozen PCs at once, though.

Re:LANPARTY! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807171)

LAN parties never made much sense to me.

Were you that overly-excited guy going from door to door in the dorms, announcing, "We're having a LAN party! Unplug your computer and bring it down to the 4th floor lounge!" To which I replied, "why don't I just stay here... I'm already connected."

When I was in college dorms, we had no network connections in dorm rooms. All we had was RJ11 phone service, so the highest speed network connection was a dialup ISP. LAN interfaces weren't even standard equipment on every personal computer yet. If you bought a Mac you got an AAUI port, which required an external transceiver ($100 IIRC) to be useful. If you bought a PC you'd get nothing and would have to add a LAN card, and maybe an AUI transceiver too (depending on whether the card had a built-in transceiver for a particular network media type). In both cases you'd need additional software just to have a networking stack. As for the games, only a pioneering few supported LAN play at all, and in those days, it was far more common for them to use Novell IPX than TCP/IP.

So yeah, we had LAN parties. Sometimes we moved computers around, sometimes we just strung really long 10Base2 coax cables down the hallways, annoying the non-computer-geeks. That was the era in which the "LAN party" was born.

But there's more to it than merely needing to do inconvenient things to play. Face-to-face networked gaming is actually more fun. Believe it or not, it's pretty awesome to be in the same room as everyone you're trying to destroy in a first-person shooter deathmatch, or everyone you're trying to cooperate with to overcome the evil computer AI in a giant WC2 game that lasts three or four hours. And no, headsets aren't quite the same (not that we had them back then anyways).

You kids these days... (shakes cane)

Re:LANPARTY! (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43806229)

Fortunately you can find RJ-45 ports on many 16 bit ISA cards that will work in an 8-bit port(e.g. 3c509). With such a card, and mTCP [google.com] , you can network any IBM PC back to the 5150.

There's something awesome about booting an XT class machine, logging in via FTP, uploading a game, and then just playing. No messing with floppy disk images, xmodem, or any such headaches.

Invented by this guy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805513)

Q&A with the inventor: http://www.reddit.com/r/tabled/comments/1erztm/table_iama_youre_probably_connecting_to_reddit/

Invented by this guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805557)

and Boggs made it work.

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805531)

40 years of crappy networking! But at least it was cheap...ish.

good Ole Days (4, Informative)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about a year ago | (#43805535)

" Ethernet is merely the RJ45 jack on the back of a laptop"
When I started using it we had coax cables in daisy chain with 50 Ohm terminators at each end. I never forget spending all day trying to find out why the network was acting flaky, when just for kicks I changed the terminators and it worked. One of them was an open circuit. Go figure... We also had the 3Com 3C501 Ethernet cards the size of a bus (ok a full high/length AT card) which cost $500 each at the time. Ahh the good ole days...

Re:good Ole Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805603)

"When I started using it we had coax cables in daisy chain with 50 Ohm terminators at each end."
Youngster. I started with vampire taps on 75 ohm cable, 3 megabits/sec and PUP packets.

Re:good Ole Days (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#43805683)

I was all on 32-pin cables with cannon plugs going into my UYK-7. 80MB removable disk packs the diameter of LPs. Good times.

Re:good Ole Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805775)

N00bz, the lot of you!

We were all on smoke smoke signals. And we liked it!

Then that Samuel Morse and his hippie friends has to come along and ruin everything.

Re:good Ole Days (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#43805967)

80MB removable disk packs the diameter of LPs.

80MB in a single disk pack??? Do you know how many RL01 [wikipedia.org] disk packs that would need? We used PDP-11 with DECnet (which was upgraded to thickwire [wikipedia.org] ethernet years later). Mind you, the PDP-11 was already light years ahead of where we started - IBM 360 [wikipedia.org] with a quarter megaword of drum storage [wikipedia.org] and 300baud links...

Re:good Ole Days (2)

gewalker (57809) | about a year ago | (#43805739)

I also remember doing Arc-net and g-net networks, as well as 4 & 16 MBit token ring. When the PS/2 came out, we were paying $895 for 16 MBit token ring cards. Sometimes the good old days were actually the bad old days.

Re:good Ole Days (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about a year ago | (#43806139)

Dam your old -- smoke signals before that no doubt? :)

Re:good Ole Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806973)

What do I need make a dam for, and what possession of mine is old? GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!

Ah, the terminators. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805697)

I certainly recall the terminators (named after what they did to your network at the most inopportune times). The cheap screw-on connectors were great, too. They'd work for an arbitrary amount of time, but gradually they'd tarnish or corrode inside, the impedance making the network more and more flaky over time.

Of course, I never had the $500 NICs. I was lucky if I could get my hands on an el cheapo ne2000 clone. :D

Re:Ah, the terminators. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805813)

I certainly recall the terminators (named after what they did to your network at the most inopportune times).

Speaking as an electrical engineer: no, no they weren't. Terminators have been around far before they were incorporated into 10base2.

Re:Ah, the terminators. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806187)

Whoosh.

Re:good Ole Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805867)

GET OFF MY LAWN!

You damm kids. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805561)

Get off my lan.

Re:You damm kids. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805799)

Anyone remember having to use a corer to set a vampire tap into ThickNet so you could ratchet an AUI coupler onto the colored band every 1m? Does anybody here remember... laughter?

Yeah, it drinks pretty heavily now (4, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43805639)

Ethernet's fiber-optic wife left him for Wifi. His kids call the new guy daddy. The child support leaves him living in a run down shithole where he can barely even do 10 Mbps. Life just wasn't what he'd hoped it would be.

Re:Yeah, it drinks pretty heavily now (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43805901)

Should have shacked up with that hot little MIDI number who was left out in the cold as the poor man's network.
Then again, any pair would probably end up twisted anyway. At least they could have made beautiful music together...

Ethernet is really only 33 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805669)

The spec might be 40, but 40 years ago was 1973. You could not buy anything Ethernet that early. None of it was actually available for sale until the early 1980s. I was there; I was involved in early implementations (anyone remember "thick wire" Ethernet, or the early DEC routers and bridges? Kinks and reflections?).

That was actually one of the genius bits of Ethernet. It was designed (DEC, Xerox, and Intel) to do what needed to be done, not what could be done with the available tech. It took a while for the state-of-the-art tech to catch up with the spec. Which is why you couldn't buy any Ethernet equipment until around 1980.

I'm just sayin', that for the people who were there, actually working in the field (not in a Xerox research lab), Ethernet is only around 33 years old. And it sure as hell didn't start out with RJ45 connectors!

Re:Ethernet is really only 33 (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43806089)

And it sure as hell didn't start out with RJ45 connectors!

Ethernet is the hardware equivalent of Fortran in the old prediction: "I don't know what the program^H^H^H^H^H^Hnetworking standard of the year 2000 will look like, but I know it will be called FORTRAN^H^H^H^H^H^H^HEthernet." :-)

Re:Ethernet is really only 33 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806469)

This is kind of like saying a 22-year old is only 4 years old because they've only been "on the market" for the last four years.

Re:Ethernet is really only 33 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807473)

Yes I remember those with a great fondness. Thats when you actually had to get your hands dirty doing networking, and actually know what you were doing

??? Weird wording in OP. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43805689)

"For many people Ethernet is merely the RJ45 jack on the back of a laptop, but its relative ubiquity and simplicity belie what Ethernet has done for the networking industry and in turn for consumers and enterprises."

This is one of the strangest sentences I have encountered in quite a while.

First, "belie" is very definitely the wrong word to use here. It means "to show to be false". And second, Ethernet is ubiquitous largely because of its simplicity... there is nothing surprising about that.

Re:??? Weird wording in OP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806011)

The comment is saying that even though it looks simple, it has done a lot for the networking industry. As if its stupid looking face could not possibly move the heaven and earth as it has.

Re:??? Weird wording in OP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806017)

but... that's a totally different sentence than what they were trying to convey...
they're using the definition of belie that means

"Fail to give a true notion or impression of "

and yes it's ubiquity and simplicity do fail to give a true notion or impression of what Ethernet has done for the networking inddustry.

Re:??? Weird wording in OP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806053)

I do not think that word means what they think it means. Underlie?

Re:??? Weird wording in OP. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43806087)

Yeah anybody who had used the old thinnet could have told you why Ethernet was gonna win, everything else was a bigger PITA, not to mention how one bad spot or flaky terminator could take out an entire LAN whereas with Ethernet if one went down it didn't break everything else.

So lets hear it for Ethernet, something that won NOT because some corporation rammed it through,or slipped enough money to the right hands, but because it was better than the alternatives.

Re:??? Weird wording in OP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807581)

"Thinnet" was Ethernet, you numbskull. So was its predecessor, "Thicknet". You're talking about how star-topology twisted-pair Ethernet (aka 10Base-T) displaced earlier coaxial-cable versions of Ethernet (10Base-5, 10Base-2).

Your little anti-corporate screed is bizarrely misguided too. Ethernet had major corporations backing it and "ramming it through" -- Digital, Intel, Xerox, and 3Com are notable examples. The fact that Xerox PARC was willing to open it up to industry participation and standardization played a far greater role in Ethernet's success (and eventual domination) than technical superiority -- most of the competitors in the 1980s were proprietary (such as ARCnet), or at best nominally "open" e.g. IBM's Token Ring.

Re:??? Weird wording in OP. (1)

djlowe (41723) | about a year ago | (#43807651)

everything else was a bigger PITA

Not really. Back then, Ethernet was purely CSMA/CD (and later CSMA/CA), and at 10 Mbps a heavily populated network segment could quickly become saturated. Compare that to ARCNET, which, although it only ran at 2.5 Mbps, was token-based, and so scaled much better as nodes were added to a segment. In fact, overall throughput on an ARCNET LAN was BETTER than that of Ethernet then with equal numbers of nodes per segment as the node count increased.

Later, Ethernet networks would move to twisted pair at 10 Mbps on Category 3 twisted-pair wiring connected to Ethernet concentrators (what you youngins all call "hubs" now)... and performance was easier manage due to centralization of the wiring at the concentrators: You could lower the node count by adding network cards to the server and then having each one connect to a concentrator, and then judiciously daisy-chain concentrators together to increase the node count per segment.

NetWare made this easy to do, as it handled all of the routing internally. Later, it supported IPX load balancing at the server level, and you could have multiple NICs in a server connect to the SAME segment, which helped a LOT (http://support.novell.com/techcenter/articles/ana19941201.html - from 1994, and WOW do I feel old now).

not to mention how one bad spot or flaky terminator could take out an entire LAN whereas with Ethernet if one went down it didn't break.

You seem to be confusing the protocols with the infrastructure. "One flaky terminator" most likely refers to the 52 ohm Thinnet terminators used in 10BASE2 networks.

In any event, once the first 10Mbps Ethernet switches became available, and later 10 Mbps/100 Mbs switches, concentrators and NICs, and prices dropped both for the switches, concentrators and NICs, the end for Token Ring and ARCNET was near.

Still, in the SMB LANs that I installed and maintained back then, I preferred ARCNET over Ethernet or Token Ring, for its lower overall cost, better scalability and reliability at the time. I used to joke "You could run ARCNET on a pair of (metal) coathangers if you had to!"

Regards,

dj

Re:??? Weird wording in OP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807255)

It can also mean to give a misleading impression (his strength belied his size), you stupid heifer.

Screw Ethernet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805727)

TOPS over AppleTalk will never die!

Ethernet is only 33 years old (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805735)

Us old farts who were actually working in the field at the time know you couldn't actually buy any Ethernet equipment until around 1980. I remember installing a "thick wire" LAN using DEC routers / bridges around then. The spec. might be 40, but you sure as hell couldn't buy anything in 1973.

The genius of Ethernet was that DEC, Xerox, and Intel speced out what needed to be done, then went about developing the technology to implement it. Would that that methodology were used more!

Re:Ethernet is only 33 years old (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about a year ago | (#43805829)

The genius of Ethernet was that DEC, Xerox, and Intel speced out what needed to be done, then went about developing the technology to implement it. Would that that methodology were used more!

Thus gave us the DIX ethernet connector... From DEC, Intel and Xerox...

Re:Ethernet is only 33 years old (2)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about a year ago | (#43806013)

Did y'all know that the original spec for Ethernet was to be a wireless network???

Re:Ethernet is only 33 years old (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about a year ago | (#43806735)

Did y'all know that the original spec for Ethernet was to be a wireless network???

One of the earliest networks allowing collisions and using collision detection was the ALOHA [historyofc...tions.info] network, and that was wireless, but that also wasn't Ethernet. Are you thinking of ALOHAnet?

I can't find a copy of Metcalfe's "Alto Ethernet" memo, but this Wired article [wired.com] has a diagram from the memo that does include "radio ether" but also includes "cable ether" and "telephone ether".

Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43805759)

Switches in a chip for saving me from collision based hell.

Best regards,
Ethernet

LANtastic! (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#43805873)

Now, where did I put those LANtastic disks? I need to get this 386SX on the network so I can share its Epson printer.

Re:LANtastic! (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#43806237)

Left eyelid twitches uncontrollably. Fuck LANtastic, before I met _that_ I never thought anything could make Netmare 2 look good.

Re:LANtastic! (1)

drGreg (153424) | about a year ago | (#43806755)

I can loan you my QEMM settings file so you can load the drivers and still have enough memory to load Quake...

Most people would be wrong. (2)

SpeZek (970136) | about a year ago | (#43806059)

It's an 8P8C connector [wikipedia.org] on their laptop, not RJ45.

Re:Most people would be wrong. (5, Funny)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year ago | (#43806285)

You use KiB instead of KB, don't you?

Re:Most people would be wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806709)

I always wonder how people that are overly literal with terminology ignoring common usage don't realize they are making a bigger faux paux than people who use the common use term that is technically incorrect.

Re:Most people would be wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806937)

I don't think they understand the difference between "faux pas" and "incorrect."

Re:Most people would be wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807095)

And they probably changed all the Wikipedia entries they could find to KiB too...

Re:Most people would be wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807111)

Since "a telephone-system-standard RJ45 plug has a key which excludes insertion in an un-keyed 8P8C socket" I'd said the distinction is quite practical.

The name Ethernet is 40 years old... (4, Insightful)

rafial (4671) | about a year ago | (#43806493)

...but what happens to the bits is almost completely different. The original layer 1 (physical) layer stuff has evolved from the original idea of a shared broadcast medium (thick and thin coax up through the age of hubs) to nowadays being a point-to-point network managed through a centralized intelligent switch. And the layer 2 stuff (data link) evolved from the original spec of 1973 to the notably different 802.2 spec in 1983. In some ways, the great success of Ethernet is that it became the name we gave to whatever technology won out.

Re:The name Ethernet is 40 years old... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43806679)

In some ways, the great success of Ethernet is that it became the name we gave to whatever technology won out.

Of course, the only cooler name than ethernet would be æthernet. What other networking standard has a name that's a joke?

Re:The name Ethernet is 40 years old... (2)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#43807387)

No, you're mistaken. It can still operate on a shared medium, the abundance of cheap-ass switches (which aren't 'intelligent' as you call them) hasn't changed the actual technology.

/. - get modded insightful for pointing out ethernet is point-to-point...

Re:The name Ethernet is 40 years old... (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about a year ago | (#43807503)

It can only operate on a shared medium at obsolete speeds. Gigabit Ethernet won't do shared.

Re:The name Ethernet is 40 years old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807555)

If you want a shared medium you can still buy hubs. It'll still work.

"...to connect machines in close proximity.." (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806587)

as opposed to distant proximity?

Actual content here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806697)

Actual content here

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1erq51/youre_probably_connecting_to_reddit_through_a/

You’re probably connecting to reddit through a technology I invented. I’m Bob Metcalfe and I invented Ethernet – AMA

On May 22, 1973 with David R. Boggs, I used my IBM Selectric with its Orator ball to type up a memo to my bosses at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), outlining our idea for this little invention called “Ethernet”, which we later patented.

I worked with the IEEE Standards Association to develop the IEEE 802.3 standard for Ethernet, which specifies the physical and lower software layers. Today Ethernet and the IEEE 802.3 standard are the foundation for today’s world of high-speed communications used in billions of homes and businesses around the world.

I submitted this [1] to the mods awhile back so I could get on the calendar but I figured you’d like to see it, too. Now, ask me anything!

Not exactly. (1)

leandrod (17766) | about a year ago | (#43806861)

For many people Ethernet is merely the RJ45 jack on the back of a laptop

Laptops have no RJ45 jacks. Nor have desktops. They have 8P8C connectors.

ReInvent already. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807105)

Can we reinvent the ethernet jack already? We don't need that bulky Ethernet connector, a thin form factor is more than possible. Make a new connector/jack for new hardware and release cheap adapters for people how can't upgrade their network just yet. Or better yet, made it so we can replace the bulky RJ45 jack with the thinner one, make the tools required for it and what not. Cable can stay the same, just change the damn jack.

Re:ReInvent already. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#43807453)

Can we reinvent the ethernet jack already? We don't need that bulky Ethernet connector, a thin form factor is more than possible.

Possible? Certainly, but is it necessary? It seems to me that anything small enough to need a smaller connector probably has wi-fi already. GigE is rapidly becoming the standard and I'm struggling to think of a device that would need that much bandwidth but still be so small that a normal sized port wouldn't fit.

OK, So I'm Old (2)

jasnw (1913892) | about a year ago | (#43807173)

This really makes me feel like retiring! I worked at the USAF Global Weather Center (AFGWC) near Omaha in the 1970s where there was this mysterious computer referred to as a TIP which plugged into an even more mysterious ARPANET thing. We'd hang 9-track tapes and ship data back to research and archive centers on the east coast once a day. As a 2nd LT my time was deemed cheap enough to spend babysitting the transfer process (which often broke down). Time flies when you're on the 'net.

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