IEEE Milestone Award for Xerox PARC Ethernet


On May 17, 2024 IEEE awarded Xerox PARC (now part of SRI) 3 Milestone Awards for Ethernet (1973), Alto (1973) and the Laser Printer (1974). Bob Metcalfe (Ethernet) John Shoch (Alto) and Ron Rider (Laser Printer) accepted the awards on behalf of the many people involved in the inventions.

Vint Cerf and Bob Metcalfe were keynote speakers and described what it was like in the mid 1970's and the collaboration between the Stanford and Xerox PARC teams.



May 17, 2024: Bob Metcalfe (Ethernet) Ron Rider (Laser Printer) John Shoch (Alto)


And what did these people look like way back then?

1993 20th anniv (1)

May 1993: John Shoch, Bob Metcalfe, Ron Crane, David Boggs


1972: Bob Metcalfe and Ron Rider


Ethernet's Emergence from Xerox PARC -- April 13, 2022 IEEE Webinar

Ethernet's Emergence from Xerox PARC

Time Speaker/Panelist(s) Description
0:00:00 Tom Coughlin Introduction to the IEEE Santa Clara Valley (SCV) Technology History Committee
0:01:44 Geoff Thompson Introduction of panelists;  Agenda
0:18:21 Bob Metcalfe Xerox PARC Ethernet:  Invention, key technologies and contributions
0:27:05 David Liddle Initial Xerox Ethernet products;  Managing expectations for Ethernet in corporate Xerox
0:45:32 Gordon Bell DEC VAX networking strategy;  Ethernet as "unifying key to 5th generation" computers
1:05:41 Bob Metcalfe Consulting for DEC's interconnect strategy task force;  Petitioning Xerox to partner on Ethernet
1:08:47 David Liddle  Managing Ethernet's emergence from Xerox;  Insisting on compliance to Ethernet license
1:12:08 Bob Metcalfe Introducing Intel to Ethernet;  catalyst to start 3Com
1:13:57 Liddle, Shoch, Metcalfe Interactions with IBM over Ethernet
1:19:10 David Liddle Decision making culture at IBM & Xerox;  Xerox relinquishes trademark protection for Ethernet
1:22:56 Dave Redell, Rich Seifert Collaboration between DEC, Intel, and Xerox (DIX) on the 10-mbps Ethernet "Blue Book" spec
1:31:37 Rich Seifert Crafting a robust physical layer spec;  New DC-voltage-level detection of collisions on cable
1:37:21 Roy Ogus Xerox SDD 3 and 10-mbps Ethernet/XeroxWire adapters for D0 and Dandelion workstations
1:43:04 Robert Garner Show & tell: Tat Lam's Ethernet transceiver, Alto & Dandelion/Star workstations & Ethernet adapters
1:59:47 Bob Belleville From minis to Macintosh's AppleTalk;  Intel 8086 PC prototype in Xerox SDD (Cub)
2:06:27 Thompson, Tom Gardner Q&A session:
2:06:41 Rich Seifert Did DEC & Intel prototype 10-mbps Ethernet adapters during DIX spec timeframe?
2:10:10 Hal Murray, Shoch, Siefert Xerox's PUP & XNS internet protocols vs. TCP/IP;  Xerox's Ethernet infrastructure;  48b addresses
2:22:14 Geoff Thompson Was Ethernet's progression from a few megabits/sec to today's gigabits/sec anticipated?
2:24:19 Thompson & Seifert Why aren't Ethernet/Metcalfe & Boggs likened to Telegraph/Morse and Telephone/Bell?
2:25:56 Geoff Thompson Thanks and acknowledgments!


Ethernet Lobby at Stanford Huang Center

The Ethernet Lobby at the Stanford School of Engineering's new Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center is a gift from many Stanford faculty and students who contributed to the invention, productization, standardization and commercialization of Ethernet. Those making this gift played key roles in Ethernet's success. Ethernet was invented in 1973 at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center by Bob Metcalfe (also at that time on the faculty at Stanford and one of my PhD thesis advisors) and David Boggs (also at that time a fellow graduate student at Stanford.)

Ethernet Lobby
Ethernet Lobby


Ethernet Lobby Plaque
Donor Plaque



Len Shustek, John Shoch, Robert Garner, Yogen Dalal, Ron Crane



Roy Ogus, John Wakerly, David Liddle, Robert Garner, Ron Crane

Seminal Publications

Important papers, publications and books are listed with links on the left column to enable authors to comment through this post about interesting aspects and recollections of their work.  If necessary a dedicated post can easily be created.

An interesting observation is that most of the seminal work around Ethernet was done at Xerox. The major influence from outside produced the CAT5 wiring and star topology for ease of installation and maintenance, and it is now the most common configuration for wired Ethernet.

Ethernet @ 30, May 22, 2003



 Xerox PARC
  Cake cutting
 David Boggs and Bob Metcalfe
 Ed McCreight, Gordon Bell and David Liddle
 John Shoch and David Boggs
 Pitts Jarvis, Bob Garner and Ron Crane
Bob Printis and David Liddle
Photographs courtesy of PARC.  Photographer is Deanna Horvath

DEC-Intel-(3Com)-Xerox and IEEE 802.3

After leaving Xerox to start 3Com, Bob Metcalfe  contacted Gordon Bell (DEC), and then persuaded David Liddle (Xerox) and Phil Kaufman (Intel) to bring their respective organizations to work together to create a new standard that has lasted over 25 years and has gone from local area nertworks, to wireless networks to high speed wide area networks.  The engineering groups at DEC, Intel and Xerox brought their respective skills in hardware, semi-conductors and distributed computing to ensure that this standard would last for a long time.  David Redell (Xerox), Rich Seifert (DEC) and Rob Ryan (Intel) created Version 1.0 of the Ethernet Specification on September 30, 1980, and Bob Printis (Xerox) represented Ethernet to the IEEE standards body to create IEEE 802.3 .