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Father of Ethernet : Robert “Bob” M. Metcalfe

One man is the reason you’re able to transfer gigabytes of data over your local network. That one man’s name is Bob Metcalfe, and he’s the father of the Ethernet—the reason you can connect to another PC for work, and for play.

In March 1973, Metcalfe, along with his colleague David Boggs at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC), developed the system which we now fondly call the LAN. The official “day the Ethernet was born” was May 22, 1973, though November 11—the day it actually worked—would be more accurate. He was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1996 for the development, standardizing and commercialization of Ethernet.

Metcalfe studied Electrical Engineering at MIT, and followed it up with another from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

After leaving PARC, Metcalfe founded 3Com Corp—specialists in networking hardware. In 1990, he left 3Com to become a columnist for InfoWorld, before becoming a venture capitalist in 2001. Today, he’s the director of Pop!Tech—a technology conference he co-founded.