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ieee standards How Ethernet Works

What Is Ethernet and How Is It Used?
ITSK2511
Cecil Jackson
Invention of Ethernet
A gentlemen by the name of Bob Metcalfe realized that he could improve on a system called the Aloha System which arbitrated access to a shared communications channel. He developed a new system that included a mechanism that detects when a collision occurs (collision detect). The system also includes listen before talk, in which stations listen for activity (carrier sense) before transmitting, and supports access to a shared channel by multiple stations (multiple access). Put all these components together, and you can see why the Ethernet channel access protocol is called Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detect (CSMA/CD). Metcalfe also developed a much more sophisticated backoff algorithm, which, in combination with the CSMA/CD protocol, allows the Ethernet system to function all the way up to 100 percent load.
In late 1972, Metcalfe and his Xerox PARC colleagues developed the first experimental Ethernet system to interconnect the Xerox Alto. The Alto was a personal workstation with a graphical user interface, and experimental Ethernet was used to link Altos to one another, and to servers and laser printers. The signal clock for the experimental Ethernet interfaces was derived from the Alto's system clock, which resulted in a data transmission rate on the experimental Ethernet of 2.94 Mbps.
Metcalfe's first experimental net was called the Alto Aloha Network. In 1973 Metcalfe changed the name to Ethernet, to make it clear that the system could support any computer, and not just Altos, and to point out that his new network mechanisms had evolved well beyond the Aloha system. He chose to base the name on the word ether as a way of describing an essential feature of the system: the physical medium (cable) carries bits to all stations, much the same way that the old luminiferous ether was once thought to propagate electromagnetic waves through space. Physicists Michelson and Morley disproved the existence of the ether in 1887, but Metcalfe decided that it was a good name for his new network system that carried signals to all computers. Thus, Ethernet was born.
The Ethernet System
This is a brief tutorial on the Ethernet system. We'll begin with the origins of Ethernet and the Ethernet standards, and then describe the essential features of Ethernet operation.
Ethernet is a local area network (LAN technology that transmits information between computers at speeds of 10 and 100 million bits per second (Mbps). Currently the most widely used version of Ethernet technology is the 10-Mbps twisted-pair variety.
The 10-Mbps Ethernet media varieties include the original thick coaxial system, as well as thin coaxial, twisted-pair, and fiber optic systems. The most recent Ethernet standard defines the new 100-Mbps Fast Ethernet system which operates over twisted-pair and fiber optic media.
Ethernet is a Vendor-Neutral Network Technology
There are several LAN technologies in use today, but Ethernet is by far the most popular. Industry estimates indicate that as of 1994 over 40 million Ethernet nodes had been installed worldwide. The widespread popularity of Ethernet ensures that there is a large market for Ethernet equipment, which also helps keep the technology competitively priced.
From the time of the first Ethernet standard, the specifications and the rights to build Ethernet technology have been made easily available to anyone. This openness, combined with the ease of use and robustness of the Ethernet system, resulted in a large Ethernet market and is another reason Ethernet is so widely implemented in the computer industry.
The vast majority of computer vendors today equip their products with 10-Mbps Ethernet attachments, making it possible to link all manner of computers with an Ethernet LAN. As the 100-Mbps standard becomes more widely adopted, computers are being equipped with an Ethernet interface that operates at both 10-Mbps and 100-Mbps. The ability to link a wide range of computers using a vendor-neutral network technology is an essential feature for today's LAN managers. Most LANs must support a wide variety of computers purchased from different vendors, which requires a high degree of network interoperability of the sort that Ethernet provides.
Development of Ethernet Standards
Ethernet was invented at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s by Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe. It was designed to ... more

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Processor Comparison




1. Investigate the instruction set and architectural features of a modern RISC processor such as the Digital Equipment Corporation Alpha or Motorola/IBM PowerPC. In what ways does it differ from the architecture of the Intel Pentium processor family?
The main difference between the architectures of Digital Equipment Corporation's (DEC) Alpha and Intel's Pentium processors are the instruction sets. In this paper I intend on defining both RISC and CISC processors. In doing this I will be comparing DEC's Alpha 21164 (a microprocessor that implements the Alpha architecture) and also Intel's Pentium processors (from the Pentium-R through the Pentium II).
Reduced Instruction Set Computing or RISC processing is a CPU architecture with an instruction set that eliminates some (but not all) complex instructions by pairing down and reducing them in complexity so that instructions can be performed in a single processor cycle. This is accomplished through high-level compilers that breakdown the more complex, less frequently used instructions into simpler instructions. Thus, allowing the RISC architecture to im-plement a smaller instruction set that utilizes more registers and eliminating the need for microcode.
"The Alpha architecture is a 64-bit load and store RISC architecture designed with particular emphasis on speed, multiple instruction issue, multiple processors, and software migration from many operating systems." (1, pg. 1-1) Most recent CPU designs are superscalar and superpipelined. Superscalar means that the architecture provides two pipelines for executing multiple instructions in parallel. Superpipelining increases the number of pipeline stages, allowing for results from either pipeline to be simultaneously used to avoid stalls thus, improving data flow by removing data dependency. "The 21164 microprocessor is a superscalar pipelined processor manufactured using 0.5-micron CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semi-conductor) technology." (1, pg.1-3) The Alpha 21164 can issue four instructions in a single clock cycle. This combined with the low-latency and/or high-throughput features in the instruction issue unit and the on-chip components of the memory subsystem reduce the average cycles per instruction. All data manipulation is done between registers. The registers are 64 bits in length and all instructions are 32 bits in length. Memory operations are either load or store operations.
Since many early computers had extremely limited memory and processing power, complex instruction sets were developed. Complex instruction computing or CISC processing is a CPU architecture in which a large number of instructions are hardcoded into the chip. Intel's Pentium processors still adhere to this philosophy.
The Pentium processor was Intel's first CPU to employ superscalar architecture. With its 3.3 million transistors it is able to execute two instructions per clock cycle resulting in twice the integer performance relative of an Intel 486 CPU running at the same frequency. Pentium also employed on-chip dual-processing support as well as an onboard interrupt controller.
Next came the Pentium Pro, which introduced dynamic execution technology that pre-dicts the program flow through multiple branches. Multiple branch prediction lets the CPU pre-fetch possible next instructions rather than waiting for the outcome. This technology can actually change the order of executed instructions based on analyzed data dependencies, which in turn provides optimum execution speed. However, the Pentium Pro was only available in speeds from 150MHz to 200MHz and has only 16KB of internal cache (half as much as the MMX).
In 1997 Intel introduced the Pentium MMX processor. The MMX processor added1.2 million more transistors (4.5 million total) and also SIMD technology (Single Instruction, Multiple Data). SIMD technology included 57 new instructions, 4 new data types and eight 64-bit registers.
As in the original Pentium, the MMX Pentium provides both a fixed-point integer data path that allows up to two operations to be executed simultaneously, and a floating point data path that allows one operation to be performed at a time. In addition, the MMX Pentium provides a new MMX data path that allows up to two MMX operations to execute simultaneously, or up to one MMX operation and one integer operation (in the integer data path) to execute simultaneously. The inte-ger data path includes two ALUs and supports operations on 8-, 16-, and 32-bit integers. (4)
The MMX processor is available in speeds from 166MHz to 333MHz.
Finally the Pentium II processor combines the best features of both the Pentium Pro and Pentium MMX on one chip. Including a 64-bit dual ... more

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