What is Ethernet technology?
Read about it or go to the table for a summary.

  Sure everyone's heard of networks, but do you really know the basics of a network? Businesses use networks to share information and enhance their productivity. Networks are the backbone of the entire Internet. They enable you to search for information on the latest type of widgets and then contact the company in Madagascar that manufactures them. The wide spread success and exponential growth of the Internet has been in large part due to two reasons: the development and acceptance of desktop computers, and the standardization of Ethernet technology. In order to understand this, we need to take a closer look at the history of Ethernet development.

In the early 1960's large mainframes dominated the computer industry. It wasn't until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when local area network (LAN) technology development began. A shift away from mainframes to a more decentralized approach seemed more feasible. Instead of upgrading the mainframe, why not distribute the processing power to individual users? The major hurdle that this generated was how to link all the distributed computers.

It became apparent immediately that there was a need for a communications network. Since there were no standards for local area networks in the 1970s, it was practically impossible to use equipment from different vendors when designing a LAN. Administrators and users saw that compatibility was a major problem. It was imperative to create an Open System. In other words, create a decentralized, distributed, multivendor approach to data processing and networking.

The first Ethernet specification was published in September 1980, by Digital, Intel, and Xerox. The specification was known as DIX, short for Digital, Intel, and Xerox. In 1982, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) formed a committee responsible for designing new local area network standards. The committee was called Project 802. A subcommittee, 802.3, was formed from the original one which was responsible for the international standard for Ethernet. The International Standards Organization (ISO) reviewed the standard and adopted it in 1985. Ethernet became the preferred method for connecting LANs and is still recognized today as the dominant leader.

Ethernet History Ethernet Standards
  • LAN technology development began in the 1970s
  • The IEEE 802.3 subcommittee was formed in the early 1980s
  • Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) was developed in 1995
  • Gigabit Ethernet standards were approved in June 1998
  • Open system: Ensures cross-platform and multivendor networking standards
  • Ethernet is also known as "802.3"
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