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The networking platform that comes with almost every modern computer was born in Xerox PARK around 1973, Robert Metcalfe and three colleagues are credited as the inventors.

An early experimental version of Ethernet ran at 2.94 Mbit/s and was described in a 1976 paper co-authored by Metcalfe titled “Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching for Local Computer Networks” (PDF). In 1979, Metcalfe convinced Xerox, Intel, and Digital Equipment Corporation to promote 10 Mbps Ethernet through the “DIX” standard.

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Early Ethernet used coaxial cables, but these were eventually abandoned in favor of twisted pair and fiber optic cables. During the creation and development of Ethernet, countless other advances in network technology emerged, including the PARC Universal Packet (PUP), a set of internetworking protocols that influenced the early operation of TCP/IP and served as the cornerstone of later Xerox XNS protocols. Moreover, PUP was a key component of PARC’s prophetic “office of the future” vision (check out this early announcement).