Bernard Daines, a pioneering networking enterpreneur who helped expand the Ethernet maket in the 1990s, died today at age 69.
Daines died at the Kotenai Health and Medical Center in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, according to the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.). His brother Dan Daines told the paper he would have been 70 on April 12.
Daines founded a number of networking companies, including Grand Junction, Packet Engines, and World Wide Packets. Grand Junction was an important acquisition by Cisco Systems when it rolled up a number of Ethernet switching companies in the 1990s to become the networking giant it is today.
Grand Junction was sold to Cisco in 1994 for a price of $348 million, which at the time was a very large purchase. Grand Junction made Fast Ethernet, or 100Bast-T, switching products. It was the first company to develop and sell desktop Fast Ethernet switches.
After Grand Junction, Daines moved from Silicon Valley to the Spokane, Wash. area, where he founded Packet Engines, which was acquired by Alcatel in 1998 for an estimated price of $315 million. Later he founded World Wide Packets, which Ciena bought in 2008 for about $200 million.
Daines maintained several business interests in the Spokane area. An article in the LA Times chronicles his building a a mini-networking empire in the unlikely area of the Spokane Valley. In an interview with Light Reading from 2000, Daines detailed some of challenges of being an entrepreneur, including some of the controversy around the sale of Packet Engines to Alcatel.
Ex-employees cited Daines as a quiet and eccentric leader who led with a unique vision.
“Bernard was a kind, eccentric tech visionary that pushed high-speed Ethernet data rates beyond what off-the-shelf technology would allow for, and what the industry believed to even be possible at times,” wrote Rick Thompson, the President and Co-Founder of Greentech Media, who worked with Daines at Packet Engines, in an email to the Rayno Report. “He and his companies were a big part of laying the foundation for data networking and internet infrastructure as we know it today.”
A full obituary is available is here at the Spokesman-Review.