Four decades after its creation, Ethernet continues to play a critical role in the transmission of data -- finding itself in 90% of devices, according to one tally -- and promises to remain at the forefront of the Internet's evolution, experts say. Analysts now forecast that terabit Ethernet is less than a decade out, while pioneers of the technology, such as 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe, are bullish on the emerging data-delivery platforms, such as software-defined networking, that Ethernet made possible.

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