what about 48 bits?

Barry Shein bzs at world.std.com
Mon Apr 5 15:58:59 CDT 2010

On April 5, 2010 at 13:51 smb at cs.columbia.edu (Steven Bellovin) wrote:
 > Yup.  10 years earlier, a 3Com Ethernet card for a Vax cost about $1500, if memory serves.

Early-mid 80s? I'd say at least twice that, I don't think there were
too many cards for Vaxes and similar for less than $5K.

An NIU20 for DECSYSTEM-20 was a 3U box, it was just a single ethernet
interface, and cost around $15-20K.

About the same price for an IBM370 (specifically, 3090) ethernet box
which included a PC/AT and sat on a box about the size of a dorm cube
refrigerator which, if you opened it up, contained a chunk of Unibus
backplane in which was a (I think 3COM?) ethernet board (and power
supply etc.), some common Vax ethernet card. Weird, the whole thing
was basically a kludged together Unibus to bus/tag channel adapter or
maybe even 3274 using something like an IRMA board? I knew it well
because it crashed a lot and operations decided I was the only one who
had the magic voodoo to bring it back to life which as I remember was
to POWER-CYCLE IT! Well, sometimes you had to power-cycle it more than
once to get it all to synch.

And we had to put coins in those boxes to get our packets through! If
you wanted an email it cost a dime, FTP was 75cents for the first
100KB and 10c for each KB thereafter...ok, that may not be entirely


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