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A Little History

Macs have been able to talk to one another for years and years. They did so via something called AppleTalk—a networking scheme devised by Apple that allowed a few Macs and printers to chat with one another via cable stung between the various Macs' and printers' Printer ports. The cables and connectors used at this time were branded with the name LocalTalk. (Yeah, I know, all this “talk” stuff is confusing.) For its time, this AppleTalk/LocalTalk duo was a perfectly fine way for Macs to communicate. Unfortunately, AppleTalk isn't supported natively by PCs, and LocalTalk is, by today's standards, deathly slow.

Round about the time Apple released the first Power Macs, a new port graced the back of the Mac: the Ethernet port. Unlike the Printer port, which was forced to serve two masters (networking and printer connections), the Ethernet port was designed for one purpose only: networking.


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