In 1973, there were no personal computers, says Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet.
But 39 years ago today, Metcalfe and David Boggs, Chuck Thacker and Butler Lampson at Xerox set out to build a network for them. The idea for Ethernet first appeared in print in a memo that Metcalfe wrote on May 22, 1973.
They borrowed the word – Ethernet – from physics and the term: luminiferous aether – “meaning light-bearing aether” and describing “a medium for the propagation of light.”
In 1979, Metcalfe co-founded 3Com Corp. to build Ethernet products.
And in 1981, 3Com shipped the first adapter for personal computers when IBM invented its desktop PC at its Boca Raton campus in Florida.
Today, Ethernet has evolved so much that what people refer to as Ethernet has little resemblance to the technology developed 39 years ago, Metcalfe said.
In this video, Metcalfe discusses Ethernet’s past briefly and he focuses on the future of the technology. It’s worth watching.
Today, Metcalfe serves as professor of innovation at the University of Texas at Austin.