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Networking is another way that advances in computer engineering and software has paved a way for the advancement of communication, industry, and our lives in general through technological advancements. Just as the utilization of fire and carving of the wheel gave us advantages over the perils of life, the networking of computers has brought an unreachable far off world closer to each and every one of us. First and foremost we are now able to nearly instantaneously share information with an unreachable world. The engineering that made this possible began not on some other planet, or from the depths of a holy shrine. But from the ingenuity of a partnership of companies that sought to find a reasonable (and soon profitable) solution to the proprietary incompatibility of emerging information system networks.

Although the networking of our information systems has many different areas for study, this paper is about Ethernet. In it, I will discuss the basic components of an Ethernet connection. How they work and how they don't.

The Ethernet connection was invented in the 1970's by the big corporations of the day; Intel, IBM, and Digital equipment. They worked together to develop a standard that would allow all computers to communicate with one another, rather than just their own kind. In the beginning there were many different systems coming out onto the market. With each emerging technology that hits our markets at first you have one controlling proprietor with an exuberant price tag to go with it. Then as the engineering is leaked, reverse engineered, or redeveloped, other companies jumped in on the action and competition brings the prices down. This resulted in a flood of computers hitting the corporate (very seldom personal) markets. Well, now we have better pricing but none of these systems wanted to speak the same language. This put a strain on the wallet of the consumer. Not only did they have to buy the computer, but now they need the proper equipment to transmit to the system down the hall! As mentioned above, this was resolved by the cooperation of many, and just like the common toaster, most bread will fit right inside.

Ethernet is a protocol that uses a physical connection (to ride upon the ether) established between computers and enables data to be sent from one system to another. The data for which it was made to carry is a collective series of organized electrical signals. Comprised of, a high voltage for a 1 and a low or off voltage for a zero. This was a standard that laid the paving for an information highway that would later follow in its wake.

Data is transmitted via little spurts collectively called packets. These packets are further divided into frames. Each frame contains data destined with a particular purpose. It begins with preambles to let the other computers on the network know that data is to follow. This will set the other systems into listen mode. Next, you will have the address of the recipient and the address of the sending computer. These are all Mac addresses. Further into the packet, you will see the data that is being sent. To protect against corrupt data you will see that the last frame contains a checksum that should match the receiving computers checksum. If these match than all the data is intact. If not, the computer will report back to the sending computer and request it to be sent again.

An Ethernet connection does have a few mandatory requirements as far as physical parts are concerned. At first it was a rather simple series of components that were rather crude in their creation. The first Ethernet was constructed by a scientist by the name of Robert Metcalf. His first design was mainly for server to client connections as well as peripheral devices that were being used at the time (printers, and controllers.) It consisted of a "bus" type network. This followed the 10base5 technology where you essentially had a limited in length, thick cable, into with you would connect a crude "tap" at a remote station. That would connect to a transceiver, and in turn an interface cable. Here, you would connect the controller that was installed to a work station. This system although operational, but wasn't without its problems. Its distances had limitations for which it could be run, and would require expensive repeaters every 500 or so feet. It was subject to electromagnetic fields. It was essentially a large antenna and nearby power supplies and in some cases the environment would cause network degradation and failure. Even the signals would bounce if a terminator was not applied. This crude bus network was the first of it's kind in the world of computer networking, but we have little choice but to praise its memory.

The data that is sent along a network is in the form of electrical signals. What happens when one computer sends a signal at the same time another computer sends its signal? Well I suppose that maybe +5v going one



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