Continued Growth of Ethernet as Tech Turns 50

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Wired connections will have some people immediately thinking of dial-up modems and the like from the early days of Internet connectivity, but that is really not how it should be considering that Ethernet has in no way gone the way of the Dodo bird. Or AOL for that matter, but what we’re setting up for here is a discussion where we explain how Ethernet connectivity is still entirely relevant even though maybe not as much as when it made its functional arrival 50 years ago.

That’s right, it took quite some time before the applications of the technology become commonplace the way it did in the early to mid-1990s and some of us are old enough to remember a time when making the physical connection was the only option. And it’s entirely true to say that doing so continues to have some very specific advantages, and that can segue easily into a similar discussion about how large cloud data centers rely so completely on the newest variations of Ethernet technology.

Both topics are always going be in line with what we take interest in here at 4GoodHosting given we’re one of the many good Canadian web hosting providers. We’ve had previous entries where we’ve talked about Wi-Fi 6 and other emerging technologies, so now is an ideal time to talk about just how integral Ethernet technology advances have been for Cloud computing.

Targeted Consolidation

Ethernet was invented in 1973, and since then it has continuously been expanded and adapted to become the go-to Layer 2 protocol in computer networking across industries. There is real universality to it as it has been deployed everywhere from under the oceans to out in space. Ethernet use cases also continue to expand with new physical layers, and high-speed Ethernet for cameras in vehicles is one of a few good examples.

But where there is likely the most impact for Ethernet right now is at this point is with large cloud data centers. The way growth there has included interconnecting AI/ML clusters that are ramping up quickly adds to the fanfare that Ethernet connectivity is enjoying. And it has a wide array of other potential applications and co-benefits too.

Flexibility and adaptability are important characteristics of the technology, and in many ways it has become the default answer for any communication network. Whether that is for connecting devices or computers, in nearly all cases inventing yet another network is not going to be required.

Ethernet also continues to be a central functioning component for distributed workforces, something that has more of an emphasis on it since Covid. Communication service provider were and continue to be under pressure to make more bandwidth available, and the way in which Ethernet is the foundational technology used for the internet and enabled individuals to carry out a variety of tasks efficiently from the comfort of their own homes is something we took note of.

Protocol Fits

Ethernet is also a more capable replacement for legacy Controller Area Network (CAN) and Local Interconnect Network (LIN) protocols, and for that reason it has become the backbone of in-vehicle networks implemented in cars and drones. Ethernet also grew to replace storage protocols, and the world’s fastest supercomputers continue to be backed by Ethernet nearly exclusively. Bus units for communication across all industries are being replaced by Ethernet, and a lot of that has to do with the simplicity of cabling.

Ethernet is also faster, cheaper, easier to troubleshoot because embedded NICs in motherboards, ethernet switches that can be of any size or speed, jumbo-frame Gigabit Ethernet NIC cards, and smart features like Ether Channel The ever-increasing top speed of Ethernet does demand a lot of attention, but there are focuses on the development and enhancement slower speed 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, and 25Gbps Ethernet, and even the expansion of wireless networks will require more use of Ethernet. Remember that wireless doesn’t exist without wired and wireless access points require a wired infrastructure. Each massive-scale data center powering the cloud, AI, and other technologies of the future are all connected together by wires and fiber and originating from Ethernet switches.

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