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.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Pros and cons
by Alfman on Sun 2nd Jul 2017 18:39 in reply to "RE: Pros and cons"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Treza,

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.


Yeah, it's fortunate they didn't use a mere 4 bytes like IPv4, which has been limiting. Despite the intentions of engineers to replace IPv4 with IPv6, it's not obvious to me that this will actually happen. Years after IPv6 day, we all still need IPv4 to get basic functionality on the internet, meanwhile the IPv6 internet is fragmented and broken.

Alarmingly even two hosts with IPv6 support may not even be able to reach each other. I only learned of this when I intentionally set out to deploy IPv6 only to discover that not all IPv6 backbones are interconnected.

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/10/22/peering-disp...


This situation might be more tolerable as a temporary growing pain, but with these connectivity issues for over a decade now combined with the lack of general IPv6 availability, I've stopped taking for granted that IPv6 will replace IPv4. Obviously sticking with IPv4 means the need to share IPs will become more and more widespread for consumers.

Ironically, even IPv6 is getting old. I wonder if IPv4 might have another successor, not IPv6, one that makes the transition smoother.


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.


My post went off on a tangent ;)
I had a network card that supported both 10mbps ethernet as well as 10baseT, but I only ever saw 10baseT used in an office setting. My LAN experience at home started with a 10mbps ethernet hub.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Pros and cons
by CATs on Tue 4th Jul 2017 06:43 in reply to "RE[2]: Pros and cons"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

I've stopped taking for granted that IPv6 will replace IPv4.

Yeah, that's how I see it, too. Most people would rather stick with the "good ol' familiar" IPv4 and just keep NAT'ing it to the grave.
I've worked in small/local to medium/regional, to huge/global companies and NONE of them want to do anything with IPv6. In fact, they disable IPv6 support on all the systems globally by default. Mostly because IPv4 "just works" as far as they're concerned and IPv6 is still half-assed in most cases.
On the bright side — you can memorize, dictate IPv4 addresses pretty easily. No such luck with IPv6 :-D

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Pros and cons
by zlynx on Sun 2nd Jul 2017 19:49 in reply to "RE: Pros and cons"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

Heh, remember when switches were so expensive that people were actually building 10/100 hubs that had a single internal switch between 10 and 100? But they were still a hub. A 10 Mbps and a 100 Mbps hub.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Pros and cons
by Alfman on Mon 3rd Jul 2017 00:57 in reply to "RE[2]: Pros and cons"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zlynx,

Heh, remember when switches were so expensive that people were actually building 10/100 hubs that had a single internal switch between 10 and 100? But they were still a hub. A 10 Mbps and a 100 Mbps hub.


At least there was no buffer bloat ;)

https://www.bufferbloat.net/projects/

http://www.dslreports.com/faq/17883

Edited 2017-07-03 00:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Pros and cons
by tidux on Mon 3rd Jul 2017 01:33 in reply to "RE: Pros and cons"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

It's still very useful for wifi, which is a modification of Ethernet.

Reply Parent Score: 3