The Incredible Ethernet Journey
Celebrating 40 Years of Ethernet
Download the Incredible Ethernet Journey Poster, Celebrating 40 Years of Innovation in Packet Communications
Ethernet was officially born 40 years ago on September 30, 1980, with the publication of the first Ethernet “Blue Book” specification. It’s grown from a 10 Mb/s network on shared coaxial cable to high-speed, 25 to 400 Gb/s, switched solutions in data centers. Originally used to share expensive printers and peripherals, Ethernet today connects hundreds of millions of computers and appliances. Ethernet moves data from a few inches to hundreds of kilometers, and provides the underlying network connectivity for WiFi, cellular data, and the Internet of Things. We’d like to wish Ethernet a very happy 40th birthday and reflect on the most important milestones that made Ethernet the most popular networking standard in the world.
To commemorate this event, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang sat down to discuss this amazing journey with Bob Metcalfe who invented the idea of Ethernet while at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and later commercialized it at 3Com. To commemorate this historic anniversary and interview, we’ve created a History of Ethernet poster to highlight many of the top inventions and developments that really shaped and defined the course Ethernet took over the last 40 years.
Some Amazing Facts:
- Bob Metcalfe first described the idea of Ethernet in 1973, famously sketching the idea on a napkin in 1976
- Ethernet speeds increased from 10 Mb/second in 1980, to 200Gb/s in 2018 and 400Gb/s in 2020 - a 40,000X speed increase in 40 years
- The Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) was invented by Radia Perlman in 1984 while she was at DEC
- Mellanox, leading Ethernet equipment vendor and now part of NVIDIA, was born 21 years ago, in 1999
- Early “thick” Ethernet coaxial cable (10Base5) was so stiff and unwieldy, it was nicknamed “frozen yellow garden hose”