metcalfe3In a thesis submitted to Harvard University in 1973, Bob Metcalfe outlines the foundation for a new networking protocol he calls “Ethernet” , representing the architecture of a LAN, creating what would eventually be the standard internetworking system. It is interesting to note his original dissertation regarding the ARPANet was rejected because it contained too much engineering and not enough theory. He later revised it after he studied ALOHAnet, which had the theory he was lacking and allowed the paper to be accepted.

Metcalfe molded his ideas into a new network architecture, which he called Ethernet after the word “ether”, borrowing a transmission protocol from ALOHAnet in which messages wait for a pause in the activity and then retransmit. The first Ethernet system was completed in May, 1973 at Xerox and operated at 3 mbps. In 1980 Xerox began marketing systems running at 10 mbps. This architecture would later cement Ethernet as the standard in the early 1980’s.

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