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Networking Apple Computers

February 17, 2008

Apple Computer Inc. developed their own networking protocol – called AppleTalk – back in the mid-1980s. It can run over Ethernet, Token Ring, and FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface), as well as Apple’s proprietary twisted-pair cabling system, known as LocalTalk (around 230Kbps). Access to Mac-based file and print services was done through a protocol known as AppleShare. Apple systems can be connected to NetWare (NetWare Client for Mac), Windows (Windows NT Services for Macintosh), and Linux/Unix servers (various solutions) either via an Ethernet or LocalTalk NIC, but the LocalTalk NIC isn’t too well supported these days. The ideal Mac connectivity solution is to use Ethernet and TCP/IP. You can’t run TCP/IP directly over LocalTalk, but it is possible to encapsulate TCP/IP packets in AppleTalk packets over LocalTalk.

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