Ethernet as the Global Standard

While the Internet was still developing as a publicly used network, Ethernet was rising as the standard way to connect computers to each other within a building. The basics of Ethernet go back to Xerox Parc and some of the groundbreaking work they did that would open the road to office productivity. While external links were based on single point to point services, buildings had multiple end points that required a common interconnection. The idea of orderly transmission of data quickly went out the window. EThernet as a standard is built on contention between a large number of devices. Contention implies that their would be winners and losers. At any given point one stations data could get stomped on by another, or a device could be force to wait for someone else to ‘shut up’. The assumption was that the overhead of providing a control that would keep traffic orderly would be a bigger impact on data transmission than the random fluctuations of the contention based Ethernet protocol. Token Ring was the counter example that attempted to maintain orderly network communication but is now barely a footnote in most network history. As Ethernet rose as the global standard for local connectivity first at 10Mbps then at 100Mbps, it became a commodity technology. Easily reproduced, cheap components, and adaptable to a wide number of applications. So as the serial links of basic inter-site connectivity reach the limit; bigger services, largely built on Ethernet as the basic connection technology came into being. Both wireless, fibre, and other connection types adopted the Ethernet standard as the way to communicate at each end; regardless of the elements used in between.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.