Four Decades Of Ethernet!!!!

It may be an anniversary that passed people by in the current bizarre climes, but “good old” Ethernet recently celebrated its 40th birthday.

I don’t think any vendors released a special 40Gbps celebration version, but they should have done! I remember my early days of Ethernet; the trials and tribulation of co-ax, where one dodgy T-connector could bring an entire network down. And it did… And all the “almost but not quite standard” Ethernet-alikes that came onto the market; Invisible Networks – where are you now? Well, there’s got to be a gag in there…

I remember the first time I met one of the co-inventors of Ethernet, and the man who took it to his heart, Bob Metcalfe, back in around ’91, shortly after he had left 3Com. It was at Browns restaurant in Cambridge. He was taking a sabbatical and – ironically – harboured the idea of being a tech journalist for a while. He wasn’t very happy with 3Com back then, but the pie I persuaded him to have – complete with giant puff pastry lid – seemed to cheer him up. Or maybe it was the wine… Either way, back then neither of us would have predicted 100Gbps+ Ethernet; even Gigabit seemed a million miles (of fibre) away. Basically, Ethernet is – or certainly was – a down and dirty tech, designed to connect computers to printers.

I remember the first major test I carried out of Gig Ethernet – for Foundry Networks; it was the biggest public test of the tech – 10×24 hrs nonstop data and app (from L2 to L7) traffic, complete with live video streams – in front of a journalist/analyst audience. And it worked. Faultlessly. I was shocked – but impressed. And the rest, as they say, is history…

Anyway, my mates at Netevents celebrated its 40th with a live to air interview with Bob Metcalfe himself, that was captured in all its glory for those “watching” on catch-up, so here is where you can find it:

Celebrating 40 years of Ethernet! – from 2.94 Mbps to 800 Gbps …Join Ethernet InventorBob Metcalfeinterviewed byJensen HuangFounder, President & CEO, NVIDIAfollowed by debate, discussion& Live Media Q&A with Bob Metcalfe and leading industry authorities…

Meantime – simple thought to leave you with; should the planet still be spinning in another 30 years time, where will Ethernet be by then? Or will we be back to chiseling bits of stone?

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