APPLETALK was a proprietary suite of networking protocols developed by Apple Inc. for their Macintosh computers . AppleTalk includes a number of features that allow local area networks to be connected with no prior setup or the need for a centralized router or server of any sort. Connected AppleTalk-equipped systems automatically assign addresses, update the distributed namespace, and configure any required inter-networking routing.
AppleTalk was released in 1985, and was the primary protocol used by
Apple devices through the 1980s and 1990s. Versions were also released
IBM PC and compatibles and the
The rise of
* 1 History
* 1.1 AppleNet
* 1.2 AppleBus
* 1.3 AppleBus networking
PhoneNet and other adaptors
* 1.6 EtherTalk, Token
* 2 Design * 3 Addressing
* 4 Protocols
AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol
AppleTalk Data Stream Protocol
Apple Filing Protocol
AppleTalk Session Protocol
Datagram Delivery Protocol
* 4.6 Name Binding Protocol
AppleTalk Echo Protocol
* 4.8 Printer Access Protocol
* 4.9 Routing Table Maintenance Protocol
Zone Information Protocol
* 5 Physical implementation * 6 Networking model * 7 Versions * 8 Cross-platform solutions * 9 See also * 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 11.1 Citations * 11.2 Bibliography
After the release of the
At that time, early LAN systems were just coming to market, including
Four months later, in October, AppleNet was cancelled. At the time,
they announced that "Apple realized that it's not in the business to
create a networking system. We built and used AppleNet in-house, but
we realized that if we had shipped it, we would have seen new
standards coming up." In January, Jobs announced that they would
instead be supporting
Through this period, Apple was deep in development of the Macintosh computer. During development, engineers had made the decision to use the Zilog 8530 serial controller chip (SCC) instead of the lower cost and more common UART to provide serial port connections. The SCC cost about $5 more than a UART, but offered much higher speeds up to 250 kilobits per second (or higher with additional hardware) and internally supported a number of basic networking-like protocols like IBM's Bisync .
The SCC was chosen because it would allow multiple devices to be attached to the port. Peripherals equipped with similar SCCs could communicate using the built-in protocols, interleaving their data with other peripherals on the same bus. This would eliminate the need for more ports on the back of the machine, and allowed for the elimination of expansion slots for supporting more complex devices. The initial concept was known as APPLEBUS, envisioning a system controlled by the host Macintosh polling "dumb" devices in a fashion similar to the modern Universal Serial Bus .
The Macintosh team had already begun work on what would become the
LaserWriter , and had considered a number of other options of how to
share these expensive machines and other resources. A series of memos
from Bob Belleville clarified these concepts, outlining the Mac,
LaserWriter and a file server system which would become Macintosh
Office . By late 1983 it was clear that IBM's
Jobs' earlier question to Sidhu had already sparked a number of ideas. When AppleNet was cancelled in October, Sidhu led an effort to develop a new networking system based on the AppleBus hardware. This new system would not have to conform to any existing preconceptions, and was designed to be worthy of the Mac - a system that was user-installable, had zero-configuration, and no fixed network addresses - in short, a true plug-and-play network. Considerable effort was needed, but by the time the Mac was released, the basic concepts had been outlined, and some of the low-level protocols were on their way to completion. Sidhu mentioned the work to Belleville only two hours after the Mac was announced.
The "new" AppleBus was announced in early 1984, allowing direct
connection from the Mac or Lisa through a small box that plugged into
the serial port and connected via cables to the next computer upstream
and downstream. Adaptors for
Just prior to its release in early 1985, AppleBus was renamed
APPLETALK. The system had a number of limitations, including a speed
of only 230.4 kbit/s, a maximum distance of 1000 feet from end to end,
and only 32 nodes per LAN. But as the basic hardware was built into
the Mac, adding nodes only cost about $50 for the adaptor box. In
The relatively slow speed of AppleTalk allowed further reductions in cost. Instead of using RS-422 's balanced transmit and receive circuits, the APPLETALK PERSONAL NETWORK cabling used a single common electrical ground , which limited speeds to about 500 kbit/s, but allowed one conductor to be removed. This meant that common three-conductor cables could be used for wiring. Additionally, the adaptors were designed to be "self-terminating", meaning that nodes at the end of the network could simply leave their last connector unconnected. There was no need for the wires to be connected back together into a loop, nor the need for hubs or other devices.
The system was designed for future expansion; the addressing system allowed for expansion to 255 nodes in a LAN (although only 32 could be used at that time), and by using "bridges" (which came to be known as "routers", although technically not the same) one could interconnect LANs into larger collections. "Zones" allowed devices to be addressed within a bridge-connected internet. Additionally, AppleTalk was designed from the start to allow use with any potential underlying physical link.
The main advantage of AppleTalk was that it was completely maintenance-free. To join a device to a network, you simply plugged the adaptor into the machine, then connected a cable from it to any free port on any other adaptor. AppleTalk's internal protocols negotiated a working network address number, automatically gave the computer a human-readable name, and collected up a list of the names and types of other machines on the network so the user could browse the devices through the GUI-based Chooser . AppleTalk was so easy to use that ad-hoc networks tended to appear whenever multiple Macs were in the same room. Apple would later use this in an advertisement showing a network being created between two seats in an airplane.
PHONENET AND OTHER ADAPTORS
A thriving 3rd party market for AppleTalk devices developed over the next few years. One particularly notable example was an alternate adaptor designed by BMUG and commercialized by Farallon as PhoneNet in 1987. This was essentially a replacement for Apple's connector that had conventional phone jacks instead of Apple's round connectors. PhoneNet allowed AppleTalk networks to be connected together using normal telephone wires, and with very little extra work, could run analog phones and AppleTalk on a single four-conductor phone cable.
Other companies took advantage of the SCC's ability to read external clocks in order to support higher transmission speeds, up to 1 Mbit/s. In these systems the external adaptor also included its own clock , and used that to signal the SCC's clock input pins. The best known such system was Centram's FLASHTALK, which ran at 768 kbit/s, and was intended to be used with their TOPS networking system. A similar solution was the 850 kbit/s DAYNATALK, which used a separate box that plugged in between the computer and a normal LocalTalk/ PhoneNet box. Dayna also offered a PC expansion card that ran up to 1.7 Mbit/s when talking to other Dayna PC cards. Several other systems also existed with even higher performance, but these often required special cabling that was incompatible with LocalTalk/PhoneNet, and also required patches to the networking stack that often caused problems.
ETHERTALK, TOKENTALK AND APPLESHARE
Ethernet was clearly winning the standards battle over Token
Ring, and in the middle of that year Apple introduced ETHERTALK 1.0
for the newly released
Macintosh II computer. The package included
NuBus card with
Ethernet ports and a new Network control panel
that allowed the user to select which physical connection to use for
networking (from "Built-in" or "EtherTalk"). The release's new
networking stack also expanded the system to allow a full 255 nodes
per LAN. With its release,
AppleTalk Personal Network was renamed
The appearance of Ether
1987 also marked the introduction of the
AppleShare product, a
dedicated file server that ran on any Mac with 512 kB of
APPLETALK PHASE II AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
A significant re-design was released in 1989 as APPLETALK PHASE II. In many ways, Phase II can be considered an effort to make the earlier version (never called Phase I) more generic. LANs could now support more than 255 nodes, and zones were no longer associated with physical networks, but were entirely virtual constructs used simply to organize nodes. For instance, one could now make a "Printers" zone that would list all the printers in an organization, or one might want to place that same device in the "2nd Floor" zone to indicate its physical location. Phase II also included changes to the underlying inter-networking protocols to make them less "chatty", which had previously been a serious problem on networks that bridged over wide-area networks.
By this point Apple had a wide variety of communications products
under development, and many of these were announced along with
AppleTalk Phase II. These included updates to Ether
Ethernet had become almost universal by 1990, and it was time to
Ethernet into Macs direct from the factory. However, the
physical wiring used by these networks was not yet completely
standardized. Apple solved this problem using a single port on the
back of the computer into which the user could plug an adaptor for any
given cabling system. This FRIENDLYNET system was based on the
Attachment Unit Interface or AUI, but deliberately
chose a non-standard connector that was smaller and easier to use,
which they called "Apple AUI", or AAUI. FriendlyNet was first
introduced on the
Quadra 700 and
10BASE-T became the de facto cabling system for Ethernet,
Power Macintosh machines added a
10BASE-T port in
addition to AAUI. The
PowerBook 3400c and lower-end Power Macs also
added 10BASE-T. The
Power Macintosh 7300 /8600 /9600 were the final
Macs to include AAUI, and
10BASE-T became universal starting with the
Power Macintosh G3 and
THE CAPITAL-I INTERNET
In 1988 Apple had released
MacTCP , a system that allowed the Mac to
For some time in the early 1990s, the Mac was a primary client on the rapidly expanding Internet. Among the better known programs in wide use were Fetch, Eudora, eXodus , NewsWatcher and the NCSA packages, especially NCSA Mosaic and its offspring, Netscape Navigator . Additionally, a number of server products appeared that allowed the Mac to host Internet content. Through this period, Macs had about 2 to 3 times as many clients connected to the Internet as any other platform, despite the relatively small overall marketshare.
As the world quickly moved to IP for both LAN and WAN uses, Apple was
faced with maintaining two increasingly outdated code bases on an
ever-wider group of machines as well as the introduction of the
LEGACY AND ABANDONMENT
With the purchase of
However, the loss of
AppleTalk did not reduce the desire for
networking solutions that combined its ease-of-use with IP routing.
Apple has led development of many such efforts, from the introduction
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The AppleTalk design rigorously followed the OSI model of protocol layering. Unlike most of the early LAN systems, AppleTalk was not built using the archetypal Xerox XNS system. The intended target was not Ethernet, and it did not have 48-bit addresses to route. Nevertheless, many portions of the AppleTalk system have direct analogs in XNS.
One key differentiation for AppleTalk was it contained two protocols aimed at making the system completely self-configuring. The AppleTalk address resolution protocol (AARP) allowed AppleTalk hosts to automatically generate their own network addresses, and the Name Binding Protocol (NBP) was a dynamic system for mapping network addresses to user-readable names. Although systems similar to AARP existed in other systems, Banyan VINES for instance, nothing like NBP has existed until recently.
Both AARP and NBP had defined ways to allow "controller" devices to override the default mechanisms. The concept was to allow routers to provide the information or "hardwire" the system to known addresses and names. On larger networks where AARP could cause problems as new nodes searched for free addresses, the addition of a router could reduce "chattiness." Together AARP and NBP made AppleTalk an easy-to-use networking system. New machines were added to the network by plugging them and optionally giving them a name. The NBP lists were examined and displayed by a program known as the Chooser which would display a list of machines on the local network, divided into classes such as file-servers and printers.
AppleTalk address was a 4-byte quantity. This consisted of a
two-byte network number, a one-byte node number, and a one-byte socket
number. Of these, only the network number required any configuration,
being obtained from a router. Each node dynamically chose its own node
number, according to a protocol (originally the
Because of this dynamism, users could not be expected to access services by specifying their address. Instead, all services had names which, being chosen by humans, could be expected to be meaningful to users, and also could be sufficiently long to minimize the chance of conflicts.
As NBP names translated to an address, which included a socket number as well as a node number, a name in AppleTalk mapped directly to a service being provided by a machine, which was entirely separate from the name of the machine itself. Thus, services could be moved to a different machine and, so long as they kept the same service name, there was no need for users to do anything different in order to continue accessing the service. And the same machine could host any number of instances of services of the same type, without any network connection conflicts.
Contrast this with A records in the DNS , where a name translates to a machine's address, not including the port number that might be providing a service. Thus, if people are accustomed to using a particular machine name to access a particular service, their access will break when the service is moved to a different machine. This can be mitigated somewhat by insistence on using CNAME records indicating service rather than actual machine names to refer to the service, but there is no way of guaranteeing that users will follow such a convention. Some newer protocols, such as Kerberos and Active Directory use DNS SRV records to identify services by name, which is much closer to the AppleTalk model.
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APPLETALK ADDRESS RESOLUTION PROTOCOL
AARP resolves AppleTalk addresses to link layer , usually MAC , addresses. It is functionally equivalent to ARP .
AARP is a fairly simple system. When powered on, an AppleTalk machine broadcasts an AARP probe packet asking for a network address, intending to hear back from controllers such as routers. If no address is provided, one is picked at random from the "base subnet", 0. It then broadcasts another packet saying "I am selecting this address", and then waits to see if anyone else on the network complains. If another machine has that address, it will pick another address, and keep trying until it finds a free one. On a network with many machines it may take several tries before a free address is found, so for performance purposes the successful address is "written down" in NVRAM and used as the default address in the future. This means that in most real-world setups where machines are added a few at a time, only one or two tries are needed before the address effectively become constant.
APPLETALK DATA STREAM PROTOCOL
This was a comparatively late addition to the AppleTalk protocol suite, done when it became clear that a TCP -style reliable connection-oriented transport was needed. Significant differences from TCP were:
* a connection attempt could be rejected * there were no "half-open" connections; once one end initiated a tear-down of the connection, the whole connection would be closed (i.e., ADSP is full-duplex , not dual simplex ).
APPLE FILING PROTOCOL
The Apple Filing Protocol (AFP), formerly AppleTalk Filing Protocol, is the protocol for communicating with AppleShare file servers. Built on top of AppleTalk Session Protocol (for legacy AFP over DDP) or the Data Stream Interface (for AFP over TCP), it provides services for authenticating users (extensible to different authentication methods including two-way random-number exchange) and for performing operations specific to the Macintosh HFS filesystem. AFP is still in use in macOS, even though most other AppleTalk protocols have been deprecated.
APPLETALK SESSION PROTOCOL
ASP was an intermediate protocol, built on top of ATP, which in turn was the foundation of AFP. It provided basic services for requesting responses to arbitrary commands d performing out-of-band status queries. It also allowed the server to send asynchronous attention messages to the client.
DDP was the lowest-level data-link-independent transport protocol. It provided a datagram service with no guarantees of delivery. All application-level protocols, including the infrastructure protocols NBP, RTMP and ZIP, were built on top of DDP. AppleTalk's DDP corresponds closely to the Network layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI ) communication model.
NAME BINDING PROTOCOL
Name Binding Protocol was a dynamic, distributed system for managing AppleTalk names. When a service started up on a machine, it registered a name for itself as chosen by a human administrator. At this point, NBP provided a system for checking that no other machine had already registered the same name. Later, when a client wanted to access that service, it used NBP to query machines to find that service. NBP provided browseability ("what are the names of all the services available?") as well as the ability to find a service with a particular name. Names were human readable, containing spaces, upper and lower case letters, and including support for searching.
APPLETALK ECHO PROTOCOL
AEP ( AppleTalk Echo Protocol) is a transport layer protocol designed to test the reachability of network nodes. AEP generates packets to be sent to the network node and is identified in the Type field of a packet as an AEP packet. The packet is first passed to the source DDP. After it is identified as an AEP packet, it is forwarded to the node where the packet is examined by the DDP at the destination. After the packet is identified as an AEP packet, the packet is then copied and a field in the packet is altered to create an AEP reply packet, and is then returned to the source node.
PRINTER ACCESS PROTOCOL
PAP was the standard way of communicating with PostScript printers. It was built on top of ATP. When a PAP connection was opened, each end sent the other an ATP request which basically meant "send me more data". The client's response to the server was to send a block of PostScript code, while the server could respond with any diagnostic messages that might be generated as a result, after which another "send-more-data" request was sent. This use of ATP provided automatic flow control ; each end could only send data to the other end if there was an outstanding ATP request to respond to.
PAP also provided for out-of-band status queries, handled by separate ATP transactions. Even while it was busy servicing a print job from one client, a PAP server could continue to respond to status requests from any number of other clients. This allowed other Macintoshes on the LAN that were waiting to print to display status messages indicating that the printer was busy, and what the job was that it was busy with.
ROUTING TABLE MAINTENANCE PROTOCOL
RTMP was the protocol by which routers kept each other informed about the topology of the network. This was the only part of AppleTalk that required periodic unsolicited broadcasts: every 10 seconds, each router had to send out a list of all the network numbers it knew about and how far away it thought they were.
ZONE INFORMATION PROTOCOL
ZIP was the protocol by which AppleTalk network numbers were associated with zone names. A zone was a subdivision of the network that made sense to humans (for example, "Accounting Department"); but while a network number had to be assigned to a topologically-contiguous section of the network, a zone could include several different discontiguous portions of the network.
Interior of Apple
The initial default hardware implementation for
AppleTalk was a
high-speed serial protocol known as
Other physical implementations were also available. One common
OSI MODEL CORRESPONDING APPLETALK LAYERS
Application Apple Filing Protocol (AFP)
Presentation Apple Filing Protocol (AFP)
Zone Information Protocol
Network Datagram Delivery Protocol (DDP )
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APPLETALK VERSION APPLE FILING PROTOCOL CORRESPONDS TO NOTES
Mac OS 7.6.1 Open Transport 1.3
Mac OS 8.6 Open Transport 2.0.3
3.0 Mac OS X 10.0.3
2.1, 2.0 and even 1.1 Mac OS X v10.2
2.2, 3.0 and 3.1 Mac OS X v10.3
3.2 Mac OS X v10.4
When AppleTalk was first introduced, the dominant office computing platform was the PC compatible running MS-DOS. Apple introduced the AppleTalk PC Card in early 1987, allowing PCs to join AppleTalk networks and print to LaserWriter printers. A year later AppleShare PC was released, allowing PCs to access AppleShare file servers.
The "TOPS Teleconnector" MS-DOS networking system over AppleTalk system enabled MS-DOS PCs to communicate over AppleTalk network hardware; it comprised an AppleTalk interface card for the PC and a suite of networking software allowing such functions as file, drive and printer sharing. As well as allowing the construction of a PC-only AppleTalk network, it allowed communication between PCs and Macs with TOPS software installed. (Macs without TOPS installed could use the same network but only to communicate with other Apple machines.) The Mac TOPS software did not match the quality of Apple's own either in ease of use or in robustness and freedom from crashes, but the DOS software was relatively simple to use in DOS terms, and was robust.
The Windows Server operating systems supported
In addition, Columbia University released the Columbia AppleTalk
Package (CAP) which implemented the protocol suite for various Unix
SunOS , *
* ^ AppleBus is mentioned by name in Steve Jobs' introduction of the Macintosh at the Boston Computer Society meeting in 1984. It appears just after the 7:20 mark in the video.
* ^ John Markoff, "Apple plans slower, affordable local area
network", InfoWorld, 14 February 1983, p. 14
* ^ Oppenheimer 2004 , Slide 3.
* ^ David Ahl, "1983 National Computer Conference, May 16-19,
Anaheim, California", Creative Computing, August 1983, p. 188
* ^ A B C Sidhu, Andrews & Oppenheimer 1989 , p. xxiii.
* ^ A B C D Bartimo 1984 , p. 45.
* ^ Oppenheimer 2004 , Slide 6.
* ^ Zilog Z8530 User\'s Manual, Zilog, p. 1-1
* ^ Oppenheimer 2004 , Slide 9.
* ^ "Token-Ring Technical Summary" Archived 22 April 2012 at the
Wayback Machine ., Section 1.2
* ^ Oppenheimer 2004 , Slide 10.
* ^ Jim Barimo, "Apple, waiting for