Thick Ethernet will not be what I anticipated the progenitor of modern-day networking to be named, however alas, it’s. This type of Ethernet, 10BASE5, additionally known as thicknet, and IEEE 802.3 normal if you happen to’re boring, was the primary commercially obtainable standardised implementation again in 1983, and acquired its title for its makes use of of “thick and stiff” coaxial cable.

Barely eccentric computing historical past that I, a toddler of the early ’90s, had no clue about till simply now. 

Higher but, this thicknet used an immensely satisfying technique of attaching gadgets to a community. Quite than plumb in your common RJ45 connector, with thicknet the best strategy to join a brand new system to a community was by puncturing the outer cable shielding and probing into the electrically conductive cabling inside. This was generally known as a vampire faucet. 

Vampire faucets really had been created to avoid wasting loads of problem with reducing a cable on each ends and wiring new connectors each time a brand new system was added.

I got here throughout this iconic data whereas scrolling TikTok, as us kind of younger(ish) however really 30-year-old folks love to do, where a video from davidbombal showcases the precise vampire tapping course of via precise bodily examples. Within the video, you’ll be able to see the precise connector used to puncture the cable and hold a agency ‘chunk’ onto it. It is an important video, and a glance into the surprisingly brutal beginnings of Ethernet as we all know it as we speak. 

Admittedly, it seems to be only a little extra fiddly than plugging in an RJ45 connector on each ends.

How I’ve made it this far with out working into doubtlessly the 2 epicly-named issues in computing historical past, I do not know. And would not this simply make you assume as we speak’s networking cables aren’t wherever close to thick, or vampiric, sufficient. 


♬ unique sound – davidbombal

Thick Ethernet, or thicknet, was changed in a while within the ’80s by thinnet. Thinnet, in any other case generally known as 10BASE2, cheapernet, or skinny Ethernet if you happen to’re boring was the dominant normal for as much as 10 Mbps connections (that is what the ten stands for in 10BASE2) up till the early ’90s. One cause for this was as a result of its thinner cables had been usually cheaper to purchase and simpler to suit.

After that got here 10BASE-T, which used twisted pair cables as an alternative of coaxial, and which remains to be used within the modern-day. 10BASE-T grew to become 100BASE-TX (the aptly named quick Ethernet—gotta love these matter-of-fact names). Then 1000BASE-T, and later 10GBASE-T. The latter growing speeds all the way in which as much as 10 Gbps, which just about brings us up into the modern-age.