Ethernet is a standard communications protocol embedded in software and hardware devices, intended for building a local area network (LAN). Ethernet uses a bus or star topology and supports data transfer rates of 10 Mbps. It was designed by Robert Metcalfe in 1973, and with the help of Digital, Intel and Xerox, "DIX" Ethernet became the standard model for LANs worldwide.
Most commonly used are Ethernet over twisted pair to connect end systems and fiber versions for site blackbones. The standard is IEEE 802.3.
Ethernet evolved greatly. It includes higher bandwidth, improved media access control methods, and different physical media. The coaxial cable was replaced with point-to-point links connected by Ethernet repeaters or switches to reduce installation costs, increase reliability, and improve management and troubleshooting. Ethernet stations communicate with each other by sending data packets.
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- 1975 - Xerox filed a patent application listing Robert Metcalfe, David Boggs, Chuck Thacker and Butler Lampson as inventors.
- 1976 - after the system was deployed at PARC, Metcalfe and Boggs published a seminal paper.
- 1979 - Metcalfe left Xerox and formed 3Com.
- September 30, 1980 - "DIX" standard, for "Digital/Intel/Xerox" specified 10 Mbit/s Ethernet, with 48-bit destination and source addresses and a global 16-bit Ethertype-type field. It was published as "The Ethernet, A Local Area Network. Data Link Layer and Physical Layer Specifications".
- November, 1982 - version 2 was published - Ethernet II