Ethernet: Mature Technology in a Modern World

Contributed by John Whitenton

Ethernet still plays a critical role for computer communications and modern networks today even though it has been around for decades. First, an introduction to Ethernet is presented. Its role in modern networks is discussed, offering speculation on information technology without its success. A look at the history and creation of Ethernet is then examined, presenting some of the founding ideals and principles of Bob Metcalfe and the engineers at Xerox. Further evolution of Ethernet is then covered in conjunction with how IEEE has helped shape its existence, starting with the existence of the 802.3 standard. Additionally, principles and reasoning for the path of evolution are covered synchronously. In addition to increases in speed, quality of service is examined since it has become a major concern for modern integrated networks. Some limitations to development are offered, and then current and future developments of Ethernet are examined. Ultimately the conclusion is that Ethernet will continue to further evolve and thoughtful planning, such as by the IEEE, has been key to its success.

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