Past Meetup

Steve Willis on Xerox Network Systems (XNS)

This Meetup is past

15 people went


What we gonna do right now is go back.

How far back?

Way back.

Intro- You probably know that many influential technologies were developed by Xerox: Ethernet, networking protocols, bitmapped workstations, laser printing technology and object oriented programing, etc.

So brush up on your OSI model and be ready to dive into networking archeology. Come here the story of XNS, which became the canonical protocol in early days of local area networking.

XNS greatly influenced protocols such as Novell NetWare, and Banyan VINES, AppleTalk and lives on within the corners of the Internet.


Steven Willis is an engineer, executive and co-founder of networking companies such as Wellfleet and Argon. From 1982 to 1986, he worked as a developer at Interlan, one of the original Ethernet controller companies, developing commercial implementations of the XNS and TCP/IP protocols. In 1986, he co-founded Wellfleet Communications, an early Internet router company, where he ran software development for Wellfleet's high-performance, multi-protocol routers. Wellfleet went public in 1991 and merged with Synoptics to create Bay Networks in 1994. In 1997, he co-founded Argon Networks, a maker of high-performance SONET based Internet core switch/routers, which was purchased by Siemens in 1999. In 2001, he joined Datapower, a company focused on innovative XML processing and data transformation, as the VP of Advanced Technology. In 2009, he co-founded Overlook Networks, a venture addressing new networking technology in the data center. His most current project is in the area of optical packet switching. Steve has contributed to the standardization of network management, BGP, IS-IS, ATM, Point-to-Point protocols, QOS and traffic management.

He recently co-authored "Cryptographic Rule Based Trading" in the 2012 Journal of Financial Cryptography and Data Security. He is a member of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service; a co-founder of Venture Valley Mentors; and an advisor to Solano Labs, Philo, and other startups in the Boston area. He holds multiple patents in the field of computer networking. Steve received his B.S. in BDIC with a concentration in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in


PWL Boston / Cambridge is hosted at the Battery Ventures office in the Seaport:

One Marina Park Drive, FL 11

Boston, MA 02210

Upon arriving at One Marina Park Drive, you will need your IDs to check in with security in the lobby. You will then be directed to the 11th floor.

Parking is available in the garage at One Marina Park Drive for a cost of $15, if you enter after 5:00 p.m. There are also 2 open lots at 50 & 85 Northern Ave, as well as metered street parking. The building is walkable from the Courthouse stop on the Silver Line and South Station.

[masked] – Mingle / Eat

6.30 - 7.30 - Talk

7.30- 8.00 - Q&A

8.00 - Adjourn