A Look at Ethernet Through The Years and Its Defining Moments
With the varied news on 5G’s advancement in different parts of the globe, one may be quick to forget the internet’s beginnings. LTE and 4G are spearheading the rise of mobile connection of smart devices, but two decades ago, Ethernet cables were the standard.
Starting from local area networks (LANs) to wide area networks (WANs), Ethernet has come a long way in making the world smaller through interconnectivity.
Ethernet’s discovery and its rise to becoming one of the fastest-growing technologies have their own stories to tell.
Understanding Ethernet’s Impact
It’s not uncommon for businesses and institutions that need a large amount of data to use local Ethernet networks.
Campus area networks (CANs) make use of fiber optic cables that help in the transfer of data such as customer information, queries, and help-desk responses.
Through Ethernet connections, various industries can operate their local servers in using data storage together with uniformly using devices connected to the network.
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have a much better chance of growing in this economy due to the popularity of online retailing.
After all, the equipment required to build one’s own business is readily available through the internet.
The optimization of an office space requires fast data transfer and input through help-desk servers and various devices that are handled by Ethernet switches.
Gadgets such as tablets, routers, and switches are just a click away, making setting up a business as easy as it’s ever been.
Instead of buying from a local store, purchasing switches online together with other business equipment is much easier nowadays.
Following Ethernet through the Years
As a subtle yet groundbreaking technology that people enjoy today, Ethernet has had a lot of significant moments in the past few decades.
Here are some of the Ethernet’s milestones that have helped shape modern living:
- In the 1970s, the innovator of the Ethernet, Robert Metcalfe, developed an early version of the Ethernet, connecting devices through a coaxial cable. The purpose was to connect a series of computers to a printer, boasting the power of just about 3 Mbps. The name Ethernet came from the term luminiferous ether, the medium through which light travels.
- For better public access, Metcalfe, and his co-creator, David Boggs, wrote in their paper a summary of the Ethernet’s function and potential use. A patent, later on, solidified the Ethernet’s potential as a revolutionary technology.
- In just under a decade, the data-transfer speed grew to 10 Mbps. Soon enough, Xerox, together with DEC and Intel, made Ethernet the standard for network connections. But the ’80s weren’t just about Ethernet’s advancements—it was also a time for a harsh competition. General Motors’ token bus and IBM’s token ring were fierce competitors for the Ethernet format.
- IBM’s token ring had a bandwidth advantage. Its packet size of 4,550 bytes was over three times bigger than the Ethernet’s 1,514 bytes. On the other hand, the exclusivity of IBM products working with the token ring made it less accessible to other PC users. Eventually, Ethernet’s development of a data-transfer rate of over 100 Mbps successfully put it as the top standard for networks.
- The introduction of the Gigabit Ethernet paved the way for 1,000 Mbps in just under three years.
- The 2000s further increased the network connection speed to keep up with the demand of the public and the evolving technologies of mobile devices. The jump in the rate enabled affordable internet service providers to increase the 25 Gbps data-transfer rate in 2016 to over 200 Gbps in 2019.
Keeping Ethernet on Top
Though there are numerous promises of 5G being as fast as 200 times the current 4G LTE network, speed alone won’t be enough for consumers to make the switch.
One of the biggest concerns over the implementation of 5G is the lack of research on security risks.
It appears that 5G won’t be operating in most countries, let alone most companies and establishments.
Though cellular providers are racing to make 5G more accessible, internet service providers are still delivering stable and reliable network speeds for their customers.
Device compatibility and service subscription options are just some of the reasons Ethernet connections may remain the top dog for now.