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Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching
PDF document. Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching for Local Computer Networks. By Robert M. Metcalfe and David R. Boggs, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. 1976. Robert Metcalfe, an engineer at Xerox, first described the Ethernet network system he invented in 1973. Ethernet is a branching broadcast communication system for carrying digital data packets among locally distributed computing stations. The packet transport mechanism provided by Ethernet has been used to build systems which can be viewed as either local computer networks or loosely coupled multiprocessors ( clusters ). An Ethernet's shared communication facility, its Ether, is a passive broadcast medium with no central control. Coordination of access to the Ether for packet broadcasts is distributed among the contending transmitting stations using controlled statistical arbitration. Switching of packets to their destinations on the Ether is distributed among the receiving stations using packet address recognition: a station's Ethernet interface connects bit-serially through an interface cable to a transceiver which in turn taps into the passing Ether. A packet is broadcast onto the Ether, is heard by all stations, and is copied from the Ether by destinations which select it according to the packet's leading address bits. This is broadcast packet switching.
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