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Low Tech How To...PC's and Mac's

By mwnorris ·
I have two separate networks in our small print/design company. An office(PC) network, and an art department(Mac) network. This doubles my overall workload with cabling and wireing and we are in the process of migrating from 10Base-T to 100Base-T. My PC's are serviced by a wireless DSL gateway to our local ISP and everything is peer-to-peer with a primary file server on each network. The network has a history of instability when the two networks are joined, and my preceding IT specialists were unable to maintain the single network. I am limited in the short-term because of the older model PowerPC Mac's in my art department. I don't fully understand their networking structures.

Can someone suggest some research material, websites, or forums where I can get more on top of this problem?

Thank you,
Mike Norris
IT Specialist/Network Administrator
Victor Cornelius, Inc.

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I don't have all the answers

by James R Linn In reply to Low Tech How To...PC's an ...

You don't have twice the the cabling workload, unless your art department has both a PC and a Mac for each user, which I assume isn't the case.

Don't assume that Mac networking is a problem, just different. Appletalk has some quite good features,such as having network printers being independant entitites not tied to print servers. Power them on, give them an IP address and a name, and voila they are useable.

The physcial cabling for Macs and PCs isn't any different. And how both machinesuse TCP/IP isn't any different.

What is different is how they access "local" file servers and printers. In other words the physical layer is the same, but the networking stack (software) they use to access the network, see network devices etc, isfundamentally different.

The Macs use Appletalk, the PCs Windows Networking. Appletalk is a chatty protocol, and sometimes a bit tricky to make co-exist with Pcs, but it certainly can be done and is done all the time.

One of my former employers had at one time 20,000 Macs and 15,000 PCs on the same network. They used routers to isolate the PC and Mac subnets, and passed only essential traffic from one net to another(mostly TCP/IP). This was many years ago - I am sure that there must be smarter routers today.

You should of course get some whitepapers on Appletalk from Apple, but you can also get information from your router vendors like Cisco.

You don't mention which versions of OS your Macs are using, and this may be significant, as Appletalk has changed significantly over the years.

I don't understand what the problem is with your older PowerMacs, unless they are using localtalk instead of ethertalk. All PowerMacs can use ethernet/ethertalk - though the network stacks in OS X are apparently much better than previous OSs.


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More inconplete info...

by ghstinshll In reply to I don't have all the answ ...

As far as I know, if the MAC will support TCP/IP as a protocol, then there shouldn't be any kind of problem with the networks talking together. Maybe this needs to be an upgrade project for you to give some kind of continuity for these machines to talk.

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