Geek Trivia

Ethernet Superseded Which Network Technology?

Fiber Optic
Serial Cable
Token Ring
The Only Country With An Invasive Herd Of Hippopotamuses Is?

Answer: Token Ring

In the early 1980s the Betamax versus VHS debate wasn’t the only hotly contested technology-centered show down. Just as hotly debated, at least in the nerdier circles, were the merits of Ethernet versus Token Ring network technology.

Ethernet was a product of XEROX PARC’s research and development projects and Token Ring came straight from the labs of IBM. Network admins and geeks everywhere debated over which network technology was superior and deserved widespread adoption. Early implementations of Token Ring were, in fact, technologically superior to Ethernet–Token Ring systems supported larger packet sizes and utilized available network bandwidth more efficiently.

Over time, however, Ethernet emerged as the dominate cabling system and protocol. While Token Ring had superior specs and could have potentially grown to be the dominant system, it was ultimately killed by market pressures. Ethernet was widely prompted by DEC, Intel, and Xerox, with a focus on getting a widely adopted networking standard out into the field.

IBM, on the other hand, kept a tight grip on Token Ring and charged extremely high royalties for use of the technology. As a result, a simple Token Ring network card could easily cost six times more than an Ethernet network card. It wasn’t economically feasible for most companies to adopt Token Ring technology and low adoption rates eventually drove Token Ring out of the market.