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Shiva, Asante ... what is a good Appletalk to Ethernet bridge

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Does anyone use Ethernet to Appletalk bridges?  I've seen them come and go on eBay, and have always wondered if perhaps that is a simpler solution than trying to find network adapters for quite a few early machines. 

 

Someone mentioned a Shiva Fastpath V4 on the eBay finds thread today, and I notice there are some version 5 devices available on eBay too. 

 

Which brand / model / version is the easiest to get results with? 

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I've used Asante and Farallon devices to mostly good effect. At least one I have (although this one's in storage) was meant for printers and has a single DIN8 connector, but Macs work with it too. You can also connect it to more than one Mac using an Apple LocalTalk or a PhoneNet wiring kit.

 

The one I have now is a phonenet endpoint itself, and it appears to work, however I need to get a localtalk end connector or a terminator. I have one, again, in my storage locker.

 

If I'm remembering correctly, you can run phonenet either wired as a complete loop or you can put terminators at the end.

 

The devices I have are small, meant for "a couple" devices in homes or small offices.

 

The Shiva devices are, as far as I can tell, a little higher end, likely meant for connecting, say, an entire department to a larger Ethernet backbone.

 

The other thing is some bridges will just do LocalTalk<>EtherTalk and some will bridge MacIP over LocalTalk to IP on Ethernet. I have never used one of the MacIP bridges, I don't know if I'd personally bother, but it really depends on what you want to do.

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I use a Farallon EtherMac iPrint adapter for transferring stuff to both my Mac Plus and IIgs and it works fine. This particular adapter has an RJ-11 phonenet plug on it as well, which is fine as long as you can lay hands on the needful adapters. If you want something that *just* plugs into a single Mac then one with an 8-pin DIN might be slightly more convenient.

 

The Farallon or the similar Asante devices are examples of "dumb" bridges that *only* bridge Appletalk-protocol packets from Ethertalk to Localtalk. I believe Shiva Fastpath's all do TCP/IP to MacIP bridging. If getting an old Mac on the Internet is the point of the exercise then that may be what you want, but there are software solutions to the problem as well, while if all you care about is file sharing the simple "printer" focused bridges are fine.

(Also, don't forget if you happen to have a "bridge Mac" that has both Ethernet and Localtalk ports you can run the free Localtalk bridge software on it and handle the issue that way, if you don't mind the requirement of having that machine on in order to bridge the gap.)

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... one thing to watch out for with the "iPrint" line, incidentally: if you're looking for a Localtalk bridge the one you want is the "iPrint LT". They made a similar unit called the "iPrint SL" for interfacing with some serial-only Stylewriter printers and that one won't work.

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Appletalk Internet Router runs on anything 68030/40, and will bridge LocalTalk and EtherTalk. The machine will need both ports. If you have an old machine lying around, it’s a good way to give it a use. The software is very reliable, and you get Zones too!

 

It is, however, Appletalk only (no IP).

Edited by beachycove

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If you're wondering, FastPath 4 can be upgraded to a 5 with a ROM swap.  I forgot who (Message inbox doesn't have it anymore) but someone burned some ROMs for me once, and it's a drop-in replacement.

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Also, be careful that some are just simple bridges from AppleTalk to EtherTalk, they don't do MacIP (TCP/IP over AppleTalk.)  So no internet, FTP, etc.

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Shivas are powerful and complicated, definitely designed for corporate/education networks with network engineers who know what they're doing. I've found it easy to foul up my entire network just trying to figure everything out. When you get them to work, everything is seamless and transparent.

 

Also, they use the same 3.6v 1/2AA as Macs (soldered) so expect to either replace that or reload the firmware and reconfigure it every time it loses power.

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