Highlights of IEEE Triple Milestone Event – May 20, 2024 at CHM

Three very significant IEEE Milestones were celebrated May 20th at the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mt. View, CA.  They were as follows:

  1.  Google’s PageRank Algorithm and the Birth of Google. The PageRank Algorithm shaped our access to digital content and put Google on the map as an established web search company.
  2.  The 1974 IEEE Computer Society paper on TCP (“Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Enables the Internet”) authored by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.
  3.  The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee which generated and maintains the standards for IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet), 802.11 (Wi-Fi®), 802.15 (early Bluetooth), among others.

Among newer and important IEEE 802 projects:

  • IEEE 802.1 Time Sensitive Networks Task Group provides standards for deterministic connectivity through IEEE 802 networks (i.e., guaranteed packet transport with bounded latency, low packet delay variation, and low packet loss).  It’s being used at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
  • IEEE 802.19 Wireless Coexistence Working Group deals with coexistence between unlicensed wireless networks. Many of the IEEE 802 wireless standards use unlicensed spectrum and hence need to address the issue of coexistence when operating in the same unlicensed frequency band in the same location.

In addition, four other ground breaking IEEE milestones were briefly discussed:

  1. Development of the Commercial Laser Printer, 1971-1977 Ron Rider, VP of Digital Imaging (retired), Xerox PARC
  2. Xerox Alto Establishes Personal Networked Computing, 1972-1983 John Shoch, Office Systems Division President (retired), Xerox PARC
  3. Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN), 1973-1985.
  4. ALOHAnet Packet Radio Data Network, 1971 Bob Metcalfe, Co-Inventor of Ethernet at Xerox PARC and Frank Kuo, University of Hawaii.

Dedication of the above 4 Milestones:

The first three milestones were dedicated at SRI PARC on Friday, May 17th.  The fourth milestone ALOHAnet led directly to the development of Ethernet.


You can watch a replay of this four hour event here.



Of particular significance to IEEE Techblog readers:

  • Vint Cerf, who co-authored the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) paper with Bob Kahn and is often called a “father of the Internet,” described the history of the Internet.  He said that Arpanet and ALOHAnet led the way to the Internet, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month with the IEEE Computer Society’s publication of the TCP paper.
  • In addition to new enabling technologies (e.g. hollow core fiber and LEO satellite connectivity) Vint said we need new policies for economic, social and legal frameworks to make the Internet safer and more secure. Also, to hold bad actors responsible for malicious behavior.  The Internet Society and others need to educate regulators to make these types of changes.
  • Past and present executives of the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee discussed the success of Ethernet (802.3), Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11),  Wireless Specialty Networks (IEEE 802.15), MAC Bridging (IEEE 802.1) which were developed by IEEE 802 LMSC.  The purpose and role of the Radio Regulatory Technical Advisory Group, which supports the work of various 802 wireless standards, was also explained.
  • Ethernet co-inventor Bob Metcalfe provided a genesis of Ethernet which he co-invented with David Boggs while at Xerox in 1973.  Working on Project MAC at MIT in 1970, Metcalfe used the Arpanet to connect dumb terminals to time shared computers. After he joined Xerox PARC, Bob read a paper about the ALOHAnet network at the University of Hawaii by Norm Abramson and was so intrigued that he visited there for one month to gain a deeper understanding of that innovative radio packet network.  It used randomized retransmissions after a collision.  The Ethernet MAC protocol (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) he developed used similar ALOHAnet concepts.  At 2.94 Mb/sec, the first Ethernet was 306.25 times faster than ALOHAnet (9.6 Kb/sec). That’s because it ran on 0.5 inch coaxial cable rather than radio airwaves.  The 2.94 Mb/sec rate (vs 3 Mb/sec) was chosen due to the size limitation of the Ethernet circuit card which could not include a 3 Mb/sec crystal oscillator. That first 1973 version of Ethernet was used at Xerox to enable Alto GUI workstations (predecessor to the PC) to share a networked laser printer and for Xerox PARC engineers to communicate via in house email.

Addendum: Metcalfe did not mention that the hardware for the 10M b/sec version of Ethernet, which in 1985 became the IEEE 802.3 10Base5 CSMA/CD standard, was designed at Xerox by Robert Garner and Ron Crane, RIP.

In April 2022, IEEE SV Tech History committee (founded and initially chaired by this author 2013-2015), presented an event on the history of Ethernet at Xerox.  The event description is here and the video is here.  Unsung Hero of Ethernet Geoff Thompson moderated this superb panel session.  It was originated by this author to provide well deserved recognition for another Unsung Hero- the late and great Ron Crane who (with Robert Garner) co-designed Xerox’s 10 Mb/sec Ethernet circuit card for the Xerox Star workstation as well as 3COMs breakout product –  Etherlink circuit card (product # 3C100) for the IBM PC, which shipped in September 1982.


IEEE Triple Milestone Event – 50th Anniversary of TCP/IP




VOE-Geoff Thompson



2013 Ethernet Tech Summit- Market Research Panel & Carrier Ethernet Comment


This session covered the prospects for Ethernet in the enterprise, among carriers (especially for cellular backhaul), and in the data center.  The session was chaired by Crystal Black, Channel Marketing Manager, APTARE

-Michael Howard, Infonetics Research
-Casey Quillin, Dell’Oro Group
-Sergis Mushell, Gartner
-Jag Bolaria, Linley Group
-Vladimir Kozlov, LightCounting

The summary of this panel will be posted at viodi.com shortly

Comment: Surprisingly, there wasn’t any talk about the Carrier Ethernet market, which was the subject of an all day track at this conference.  Carrier Ethernet lets carrier businesses use low cost Ethernet systems to offer data services with all the operation, administration and Maintenance (OAM) features and benefits, including QoS.  Existing Carrier Ethernet Services include Private Line, Ethernet Tree (point to multi-point) and Ethernet LAN (multi-point to multi-point).  In addition, the MEF is positioning Carrier Ethernet 2.0 for use in wire-line access to Private Cloud services.
The problem seemed to be that there weren’t any carriers willing to participate in those sessions, so it was just equipment and silicon vendors talking to one another.

A new report forecasts the Global Ethernet Access Device market to grow at a CAGR Of 13.62% from 2012-2016.

Another highlight of the Ethernet Technology Summit was a Wednesday evening award ceremony to the “Unsung hero’s of Ethernet,” chosen by the IEEE Santa Clara Valley (SCV) section.  They were: Dave Boggs who worked with Bob Metcalfe on the original 3M b/sec Ethernet (and whose name appears on the Ethernet patent), Ron Crane who designed the first working 10 Mb/s coax based Ethernet adapter interface at Xerox (which later became standardized by IEEE 802.3 as Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) Access Method and Physical Layer Specifications or simply 10Base5) and also co-founded 3Com Corp, Tat Lam who worked on the original version of Ethernet and early 10 Mb/s transceivers and long time IEEE ComSoc contributor Geoff Thompson for his  hard work, long term support and leadership of Ethernet standards work in IEEE 802 (he was chair/vice-chair of the 802.3 WG for many years), TIA and the ISO.

The Unsung Heroes of Ethernet etched crystal plaques were paid for by the IEEE SCV section (the largest IEEE section in the world).  They include an image of Bob Metcalfe’s original sketch of the Ethernet system.

Editor’s Note: This author has been a member of the IEEE SCV Executive Committee for many years and decades.  He nominated Ron Crane and Geoff Thompson for their Unsung Hero of Ethernet awards.  More info at:



A video of this session is available at:  http://www.papitv.com/ethernet-technology-summit-market-research-marketsinvestors-track-the-panelist-video-by-kc-leung

2013 Ethernet Tech Summit Presentations can be downloaded from: