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What Is Ethernet and How Is It Used ITSK2511 Cecil Jackson Invention of Ethernet A gentlemen by the name of Bob Metcalfe realized that he could improve on a system called the Aloha System which arbitrated access to a shared communications channel He developed a new system that included a mechanism that detects when a collision occurs collision detect The system also includes listen before talk in which stations listen for activity carrier sense before transmitting and supports access to a shared channel by multiple stations multiple access Put all these components together and you can see why the Ethernet channel access protocol is called Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detect CSMACD Metcalfe also developed a much more sophisticated backoff algorithm which in combination with the CSMACD protocol allows the Ethernet system to function all the way up to 100 percent load In late 1972 Metcalfe and his Xerox PARC colleagues developed the first experimental Ethernet system to interconnect the Xerox Alto The Alto was a personal workstation with a graphical user interface and experimental Ethernet was used to link Altos to one another and to servers and laser printers The signal clock for the experimental Ethernet interfaces was derived from the Altos system clock which resulted in a data transmission rate on the experimental Ethernet of 294 Mbps Metcalfes first experimental net was called the Alto Aloha Network In 1973 Metcalfe changed the name to Ethernet to make it clear that the system could support any computer and not just Altos and to point out that his new network mechanisms had evolved well beyond the Aloha system He chose to base the name on the word ether as a way of describing an essential feature of the system the physical medium cable carries
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