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Metcalfe: FC 'Beginning to Smell'

Ethernet has had a long career of bobbing, rope-a-doping, and taking down competing technologies such as Token Ring. Now that it's turning 30 years old, has the champ still got game?

Absolutely, says Ethernet co-creator Bob Metcalfe. Speaking yesterday at a 30th birthday celebration for Ethernet held at the Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), he said Ethernet's still got the power to go 15 rounds with anybody.

Here's how Metcalfe sees Ethernet faring against the three latest contenders -- or, in his words, the "three new Godzillas it's about to crush."

  • Fibre Channel: "It's doomed. It's dead. It's beginning to smell." Metcalfe sees IP eventually winning the SAN battle, especially once 10-Gigabit Ethernet starts to deploy. [Ed. note: Apparently the fact that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is placing a billion-dollar bet on Fibre Channel has escaped Bob's attention -- see Cisco Goes Top Shelf.]
  • Sonet: Same kind of story, with a mumbled aside about how the phone companies continue forcing this one on us. Better to inject the network with optical Ethernet wherever possible.
  • Cellular: With 802.11 ("wireless Ethernet," to many) access points popping up like dandelions, cellular doesn't have a chance when it comes to data -- although, Metcalfe conceded, the two will coexist for a while.
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