What is Ethernet?

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What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is a local area network (LAN) technology and is actually the most commonly used in computer networking today. The inventor of the technology is no other than Robert Metcalfe. In 1973 to 1975, Ethernet was developed at Xerox PARC, which is a part of Metcalfe’s Ph.D. dissertation. Actually, Metcalfe developed the Ethernet along with David Boggs, Chuck Thacker, and Butler Lampson.

In 1979, Robert Metcalfe left Xerox and formed 3Com. Metcalfe promoted the use of the technology on personal computers and local area networks. Its popularity began in 1980 after Digital Corporation, Intel and Xerox joined forces and started to develop Ethernet standard. In 1985, the Ethernet was officially granted the IEEE standard 802.3.

The original Ethernet uses coaxial cable, which is not very reliable for maintaining a large extended network. A single damage to the cable could affect the whole operation of the network. This is for the reason that all communications are carried by the same wire. Moreover, using the same wire sends information to all computers connected to the network. This would mean everyone else receives information even if he/she is not the intended receiver.

Coaxial cable connection usually is congested due to all information passing through just the same wire. This slows down the network and can be compared to highway traffic jam. Imagine a narrow road and a huge volume of cars that will pass through it. The narrow road can only allow few cars to pass. It is the same with the bandwidth passing through the same coaxial wire ‘“ it will be congested when many stations are working simultaneously.

From the time Ethernet was developed, it has evolved into a more complex networking technology. It started on a lower bandwidth and later on to higher bandwidth exceeding 1Gbit/s. The first Ethernet used coaxial cables. Today, UTP cables and fiber optics are used as coaxial cable replacement. Moreover, point-to-point links connected by switches increased the reliability, ease of network management and most of all reduced the cost for installation of networks.

Topologies have also played an important role in the setup of networks. Ethernet topology can be defined as the design of the entire network. The traditional network topology was called the bus topology. Star is also popular and is now the most commonly used topology in homes and offices. An organization must determine its networking needs to be able to decide which topology to use. Each type of topology has its own advantage over the others.

Ethernet is considered a very flexible networking technology. Its flexibility made Ethernet survived as a vital media technology. Moreover, its simplicity to implement also helped in managing large networks with ease. Ethernet is also considered as a limitless network technology.

With the development and evolution of Ethernet, it became the internet’s key technology. Despite Ethernet’s old age, developers continue to improve the technology. Today, the technology continues to power majority of the world’s local area networks. The evolution continues to meet the needs of the ever-increasing demand for networking performance in the future.

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