Milestone-Proposal:IEEE 802

From IEEE Milestones Wiki

To see comments, or add a comment to this discussion, click here.

Docket #:2021-11

This is a draft proposal, that has not yet been submitted. To submit this proposal, click on the edit button in toolbar above, indicated by an icon displaying a pencil on paper. At the bottom of the form, check the box that says "Submit this proposal to the IEEE History Committee for review. Only check this when the proposal is finished" and save the page.

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee, 1980

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

In February, 1980 individuals from various industries met in San Francisco at the now demolished Jack Tar Hotel to standardize Local Area Networks (LANs) for computers.

IEEE 802 was established and created standards that transformed the nature of computing. In particular: 802.3 (Ethernet), 802.5 (Token Ring), and 802.11 (Wi-Fi) made communication between mainframes, all personal computers, laptops and, later, smartphones something that could be taken for granted.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section
Senior Officer Name: Taylor Winship

Unit: IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee
Senior Officer Name: Paul Nikolich

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section
Senior Officer Name: Taylor Winship

Unit: IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee
Senior Officer Name: Paul Nikolich

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Taylor Winship

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Geoff Thompson
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Computer History Museum 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd Mountain View, CA 94043 37.4142744, -122.077409

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. Museum whose scope is appropriate to LAN technology and its application space. There are other historical markers already at the site. See Dedications #159 and 196 Site 2.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

The plaque will be mounted outside on the brick wall enclosing the entrance garden next to the other IEEE Milestones.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The plaque will be mounted outdoors in the enclosed entrance garden which is visible from the reception desk. The reception desk is manned by museum staff when the museum is open. However, the site is freely accessible to the public 24/7.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Computer History Museum

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

The work of 802 had broad participation and buy in from many vendors, both of smaller computers and from independent manufacturers of communications interfaces for those computers. The goal was multi-vendor interoperable communication between multiple customer systems at high speed, largely in a local or campus context.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

Previous to that point in time most computer to computer communication was proprietary and was orientated to the 4kHz bandwidth of a telephone voice channel. The challenge was to change the orientation to a multi-vendor, multi-station network that operated at high speed in a context oriented to a local facility, in particular to overcome the industry's entrenched proprietary bias.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

The major products in the market that were similar were ArcNET which was largely limited to word processors and was proprietary and IEEE-488 which was specific to laboratory instruments and was oriented to bench top use. 802 LANs were general purpose, multi-vendor and had much longer reach the IEEE-488.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).