Network many Macs
Setting up a network with more than two Macs (or at least one that allows for later expansion) will give you the complete network education in hardware and software construction, as well as make you eminently employable for high wages at a number of high-tech firms. Or something like that.
LocalTalk is the "original" flavor of Mac networking, built-in to Macs as far back as the Mac Plus, which was released in 1986. LocalTalk uses a Mac serial port to communicate, usually the printer port (although you can use the modem port
instead). LocalTalk is known for being both inexpensive and slow (relative to Ethernet), with a maximum transfer speed of around 20K per second. For more detailed info, see the
What is LocalTalk? page.
Ethernet is the most-used kind of networking today, for both Macs and PCs. Used almost exclusively in the business world for many years, Ethernet is now also found in many home networks. All Power Macs come with at least
10BaseT Ethernet built-in and many can also use
100BaseT "out of the box." If your Mac doesn't have Ethernet built-in, there are a plethora of adapters available to get almost any Mac on an Ethernet network. Ethernet is much faster than LocalTalk, with a maximum transfer speed of around 800K per second for 10BaseT and 8MB per second for 100BaseT. For more detailed info, see the
What is Ethernet? page.
Note for owners of newer Macs like the iMac or Blue & White G3 Pro
If you have a new Mac, such as the iMac or Blue & White G3 Pro,
Ethernet is your only option, as these Macs do not include serial ports and thus do not support
LocalTalk connections. I would expect future Mac models to follow suit.
Setting up your network
If you want to set up an Ethernet network that has the maximum ability to expand as more computers enter the picture, you'll need to base your network around a
hub . A typical small network hub has from four to eight ports and costs $40-80. A hub-based network uses
twisted-pair Ethernet wiring and
RJ-45 connectors, typically available at computer stores in five- or ten -foot increments. For network setup instructions, check out the
Setting up a Hub-based Ethernet Network page.
If you want to set up an LocalTalk network that has the maximum ability to expand as more computers enter the picture, you'll need to base your network around LocalTalk adapters, such as
Farallon's PhoneNet and
Belkin's QuickNet. These adapters connect to each other in a
daisy-chain fashion and cost about $10-20 each. Adapter-based networks use standard phone cable as wiring and can be easily expanded to accomodate new Macs. For network setup instructions, check out the
Setting up a LocalTalk Network page.
Need more info?
Problem still not solved? Questions linger? If so, please
send mail and I'll do my best to help out. I try to answer all mail with 24 hours, although it can take longer if the answer requires some research.
Contents of Three Macs & a Printer are ©1996-1999 Matthew Glidden (except for the bits that aren't).
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[This page was last updated on 3/7/99; 1:38:31 PM.]