Most people probably associate Ethernet with a simple cable cinched with phone-like jacks. But, Ethernet is so much more.
It is the foundation for global Internet access and undoubtedly the world's most-used connectivity technology. In the annals of "techdom," Ethernet is a very big deal.
"Ethernet ranks highly among those technologies that impact day-to-day life on a global basis," IEEE Standards Association writes on its Web site. "Data center networks, PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and now the smart grid, smart meters, personal medical devices, the Internet of Things, connected cars, and more -- Ethernet touches them all in one way or another."
A diagram from Bob Metcalfe's original memo explaining how Ethernet works
It was 40 years ago today that inventor Bob Metcalfe passed around a memo explaining just how Ethernet would work -- connecting multiple computers to one another to exchange messages over increasingly busy networks.
The Ethernet that Metcalfe, along with inventor David Boggs, came up with wasn't the first of such network protocols -- some preceded it, and many more followed. But it won out to become the dominant local area networking (LAN) technology used for the Internet.
Over the years, Ethernet technology has evolved, expanded, and increased in speed. It's gone from an algorithm to complicated technology applied by dozens of companies aiming to create a better Internet experience for the world's users.