Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Jul 2017 19:11 UTC
Internet & Networking

In light of yesterday's post, here's a short look at the early days of Ethernet.

Nowadays, we take Ethernet for granted. We plug a cable jack into the wall or a switch and we get the network. What's to think about?

It didn't start that way. In the 1960s and 1970s, networks were ad hoc hodgepodges of technologies with little rhyme and less reason. But then Robert "Bob" Metcalfe was asked to create a local-area network (LAN) for Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). His creation, Ethernet, changed everything.

On a related note, in one of the recent Xerox Alto restoration videos, two of the people who worked on the invention of Ethernet, Dave Boggs and Ron Crane, helped out fixing the Alto Ethernet card - carrying some very old-fashioned Ethernet equipment and telling some great stories from the early '70s.

Sadly, Ron Crane passed away 19 June.

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RE: Pros and cons
by Treza on Sun 2nd Jul 2017 17:51 UTC in reply to "Pros and cons"
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

I have made a couple of Ethernet MACs, and for me, an important issue was processing at high speed very short frames back to back, 64bytes long (plus the 8 bytes Preamble/SoF and 10 bytes inter-frame gap, worst case is around 82 bytes time ;-). Once the headers are parsed, copying the data payload is easy.

We all encounter different problems...

One of the most forward-thinking aspect is the 48 bits MAC addresses. We will eventually run off of these addresses too, but designing such a gigantic address space in the late 70's was really optimistic.

There is also some irony in the fact that Ethernet prevailed against competing standards partly because it supported a cheap shared wire with CSMA-CD at 10Mbps.
Since the BASE-T standards and the generalization of switches instead of hubs, this shared media with collisions concept is now abandoned.

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