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Evolution of the Ethernet Local Computer Network

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131523D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 29 page(s) / 93K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

John F. Shoch: AUTHOR [+6]

Abstract

As it evolved from a research prototye to the specification of a multi-company standard, Ethernet compelled designers to consider numerous trade-offs among alternative implementations and design strategies. With the continuing decline in the cost of computing, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of independent computer systems used for scientific computing, business, process control, word processing, and personal computing. These machines do not compute in isolation, and with their proliferation comes a need for suitable communication networks -- particularly local computer networks that can interconnect locally distributed computing systems. While there is no single definition of a local computer network, there is a broad set of requirements: relatively high data rates (typically I to 10M bits per second);

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1982 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Evolution of the Ethernet Local Computer Network

John F. Shoch, Yogen K. Dalal, and David D. Redell, Xerox Ronald C. Crane, 3Com

As it evolved from a research prototye to the specification of a multi-company standard, Ethernet compelled designers to consider numerous trade-offs among alternative implementations and design strategies.

With the continuing decline in the cost of computing, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of independent computer systems used for scientific computing, business, process control, word processing, and personal computing. These machines do not compute in isolation, and with their proliferation comes a need for suitable communication networks -- particularly local computer networks that can interconnect locally distributed computing systems. While there is no single definition of a local computer network, there is a broad set of requirements:

relatively high data rates (typically I to 10M bits per second);

geographic distance spanning about one kilometer (typically within a building or a small set of buildings);

ability to support several hundred independent devices;

simplicity, or the ability "to provide the simplest possible mechanisms that have the required functionality and performance"; ~

good error characteristics, good reliability`, and minimal dependence upon any centralized components or control;

efficient use of shared resources, particularly the communications network itself;

stability under high load;

fair access to the system by all devices;

easy installation of a small system, with graceful growth as the system evolves;

ease of reconfiguration and maintenance; and

low cost.

One of the more successful designs for a system of this kind is the Ethernet local computer network.2 3 Ethernet installations have been in use for many years. They support hundreds of stations and meet the requirements listed above.

In general terms, Ethernet is a multi-access, packetswitched communications system for carrying digital data among locally distributed computing systems. The shared communications channel in an Ethernet is a passive broadcast medium with no central control; packet address recognition in each station is used to take packets from the channel. Access to the channel by

IEEE Computer Society, Aug 01, 1982 Page 1 IEEE Computer Volume 15 Number 8, Pages 11-28

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Evolution of the Ethernet Local Computer Network

stations wishing to transmit is coordinated in a distributed fashion by the stations themselves, using a statistical arbitration scheme.

The Ethe...