Technology today relies on reliable and fast connectivity especially in support of the Internet of Things and it’s perhaps easy to forget the humble beginnings that led us to our highly connected world.
Today Ethernet is common place and is the defacto way of connecting your PC and IP equipment to a network next to WiFi of course. But here’s a few interesting facts you perhaps did not know…
Fact #1 — Ethernet was invented by Xerox PARC using coax as a medium in 1973 making it 42 years old! that’s an impressive shelf life for any technology it must be said.
Fact #2 — Ethernet eventually began to use the twisted pair cabling we are all now familiar with, but did you know it was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881 to work around the interference caused by electric pylons and later the by electric trams in cities. If you’re interested in the physics you can indulge yourself here: Twisted Pair on Wikipedia
Fact #3 — The name Ethernet was coined by co-inventor Robert Melancton as a reference to ‘Etherial’ and ‘Network’ as it was to be an ‘omnipresent, completely-passive medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves’
So there’s three facts you can enjoy sharing at your dinner parties this weekend when the conversation dries up. If however, you value your dignity you may wish to share this less nerdy, but equally interesting, fact…
In 1995 Robert Melancton, mentioned above, predicted that the Internet would suffer a “catastrophic collapse” the following year; he promised to eat his words if it did not. During his keynote speech at the sixth International World Wide Web Conference in 1997, he took a printed copy of his column that predicted the collapse, put it in a blender with some liquid and then consumed the pulpy mass.
Gareth Baxendale FBCS CITP
Head of Technology NIHR Clinical Research Network.
Vice Chair BCS Health and Care Executive