In Pictures: Cool old Ethernet paraphernalia

Ethernet is almost 40 years old. Here’s a look at some of its product origins

  • Digital Equipment Corp. was one of the first computer companies to sell Ethernet connectivity products. This is an Ethernet transceiver that connected minicomputers, terminal servers and other devices in an Ethernet network.

  • 10BASE5 “thicknet” Ethernet connectivity gear from the 1980s. Thicknet was eventually supplanted by 10BASE2 “thinnet” cabling.

  • An Ethernet network interface card from the 1990s with connectors for both 10BASE2 coaxial cable and 10BASE-T for twisted pair.

  • Another hand drawn Metcalfe diagram used as a slide to present the Ethernet concept to the National Computer Conference in 1976. The diagram was photographed by Xerox colleague and Ethernet collaborator Dave Boggs.

  • This is one of many diagrams sketched by Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe proposing in 1972 a network connecting computers, printers and files over coaxial cable. At the time, Metcalfe called the connectivity scheme an Ether Network.

  • A network interface card and other Ethernet network cabling and connectivity equipment for Digital’s Alpha PC. Alpha was a 64-bit RISC microprocessor released by Digital in the early 1990s.

  • Hubs were replaced by Ethernet switches like this 100Mbps Fast Ethernet switch from Intel. Intel was one of the originators of the Ethernet standard in 1980, along with Xerox and Digital Equipment Corp.

  • The world’s first Ethernet cable sits unassumingly in a room full of printers and copiers at Xerox’s PARC subsidiary in Palo Alto.

  • An Ethernet switching hub from Chipcom, a maker of such device in the 1980s and 1990s. Hubs connected multiple Ethernet devices together into a single network segment. Chipcom was acquired by Ethernet pioneer 3Com – founded by Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe – in 1995.

  • This is one of Digital's first Ethernet transceivers, using a "vampire clamp" to connect with an Ethernet coaxial cable.

  • This is the Ethernet board for the Xerox PARC Alto computer, the first networked personal computer. One of the first applications for Ethernet was to connect Altos together.

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