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Understanding AppleTalk

AppleTalk is the networking architecture used by Apple Macintosh computers. AppleTalk is not included in the standards provided by the IEEE. The networking hardware required is already built into each Macintosh (although if you want to connect Macs to an Ethernet network, you need a Mac Ethernet NIC). The cabling system used to connect Macintosh computers is called LocalTalk and uses shielded twisted-pair cables with a special Macintosh adapter.

Appletalk is similar to Ethernet in that it is a passive network architecture. AppleTalk uses Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA). Basically, the computers sit on the network and listen to determine whether the wire is clear. After making sure the network is clear, a computer will send a packet onto the network, letting all the other computers know that it intends to transmit data. The computer then sends out its data.


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