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Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 22-Mar-11 10:01:15
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Getting a Mac: some networking queries


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In the following weeks and months I'll be making some profound changes to my computing setup: (a) I'll be getting a MacBook, the first Mac I'll have ever had, and (b) I'll be getting a new PPPoE N-type router, as I might now switch to an FTTC service. Being hitherto a Windows PC user - and I'll continue to be so on my home network - I'm unfamiliar with networking a Mac, so need some basic concepts explained.

For a wired connection from a Mac to a home network, is the standard means of connection AppleTalk, or is it just plain vanilla Ethernet these days? The home network will be a combination of wired and wireless, with the wired running on 10/100BaseT.

And is there a quick means on a MacBook of switching the MacBook from wired to wireless operation? For example, if you use wireless on the Mac and then plug in an RJ45 lead in the Mac and physically connect it to the router, will the wired connection automatically take over from the wireless, or would it be necessary instead to completely reconfigure the Mac and the router before the change would be possible? And vice versa?

As far as the router's concerned, my understanding (rightly or wrongly) is that most routers can simultaneously accept wired and wireless connections from a number of separate sources. Is this the case? (eg. wireless from the MacBook and wired to a Windows PC, at the same time).

And does the wireless 'transmit/receive' of the MacBook automatically turn fully off whenever you close the MacBook's lid or whenever you do a full shutdown of the MacBook? (I'm wondering if there'll be a quick way of turning off wireless operation in both the MacBook and the router, on occasions when wireless won't be needed for long periods).
Standard User ian_c
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 22-Mar-11 10:12:07
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
or is it just plain vanilla Ethernet

If by these days you mean since around 1991 smile Macs were shipping with ethernet as standard for years before PCs did. Appletalk (by which I think you mean Localtalk) is long since defunct.

And is there a quick means on a MacBook of switching the MacBook from wired to wireless operation?

If airport is running, it will take over as soon as you unplug the wired connection. If it isn't then just turn it on - assuming you have set it up (pretty trivial with most routers, via a web browser) it will auto-discover.

routers can simultaneously accept wired and wireless connections from a number of separate sources.

Mine is doing that right now. I use wired when at my desk, wireless when I need a change of scene. Obviously, wired is limited by the number of ports.

And does the wireless 'transmit/receive' of the MacBook automatically turn fully off whenever you close the MacBook's lidAnd does the wireless 'transmit/receive' of the MacBook automatically turn fully off whenever you close the MacBook's lid

Yep - and automatically restarts when you open it - UNLESS you are running in lid-down mode with an ext screen, in which case it will respect whatever sleep cycle you set up (I have the machine (except screen) set to never sleep when on the mains, and at my desk, since it would not do backups etc from sleep).

Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 22-Mar-11 11:07:59
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: ian_c] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for those answers, ian. It all sounds rather good.

Yeh, I've never really kept up with what Apple have implemented on their Macs over the years but I certainly have had the impression that AppleTalk dated way back and was some sort of proprietary implementation of cabled Ethernet (Apple having always had a tendency to want to be different from the crowd). It's just that I was reading a couple of books on home networking and on the Mac Tiger OS the other day and, for wired Ethernet, they gave me the distinct impression that implementation was in the guise of AppleTalk! Seemed hard to believe at the time! Am glad it definitely isn't like that! OS is Snow Leopard now, of course, with Lion coming out, I believe, in the Summer.

BTW, what do you think about anti-malware for the Mac? Should I get some and install? I do quite a lot of browsing. Answers as to whether or not anti-malware is required for a Mac seems to depend on just who you ask. There are widely differing opinions.

Edited by meditator (Tue 22-Mar-11 11:12:08)


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Standard User ian_c
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 22-Mar-11 11:16:52
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
Yeah, before Apple switched to USB Localtalk connectors were ones used for hooking up LANs (TCP/IP based but proprietary hardware). But even the old LCII I had way back when had ethernet (but nothing outside the office that could exploit it).

When the first blue iMac came out Appletalk (and Apple's annoying non-standard serial port) was replaced with USB (which in turn coincided with broadband becoming widely available).

Basically, if you set everything on the Mac to DHCP it's a doddle.

Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 22-Mar-11 15:11:43
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: ian_c] [link to this post]
 
For sharing a laser printer (the printer being on the network, not on one specific machine), I'll be using static IP addresses. I've just spent a fair bit of time configuring the printer and my Windows machine to do that. But I assume there'll be no problem in me allocating a static address to the Mac and also setting up the printer's properties on the Mac to output as default to the printer's address.
Standard User ian_c
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 22-Mar-11 17:23:41
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
Don't think so - pretty well everything can be set manual if you prefer that approach.

If the printer is a common one the driver will come with OSX (although some makers are less than hot at legacy support if it is an old one).

Standard User Basenji
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 22-Mar-11 18:38:33
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by meditator:
For sharing a laser printer (the printer being on the network, not on one specific machine), I'll be using static IP addresses. I've just spent a fair bit of time configuring the printer and my Windows machine to do that. But I assume there'll be no problem in me allocating a static address to the Mac and also setting up the printer's properties on the Mac to output as default to the printer's address.

Hi there,

You might want to check on this page to see whether Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.x) already has drivers for your particular printer make and model. If there are no drivers there, then I would suggest that you go to the manufacturers website and download any updated drivers.

I hope this info helps, laugh

Nothing to see here.. Move along, please
My Broadband Speed Test laugh
Standard User AlanH
(knowledge is power) Tue 22-Mar-11 18:59:31
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
I would suggest sticking with DHCP-assigned IP addresses as far as possible. Your Mac and printer will have no problem finding each other, though a manual address for just the printer may make it easier for your Windows PCs to find it.

I have a friend in Belgium who decided a few years ago to manually address his network, which subsequently expanded across multiple wireless repeaters, Macs and PCs. He recently changed his ISP-supplied router to support a new service, and his LAN address range changed. If his computers had been on DHCP it would have been almost seamless, but as it is, he is still finding odd things around the house that don't quite work until he changes a manual address.

Alan
Demon since forever, HomeOffice MaxDSL since 2006 via Netgear DG834G router
Mac Pro 2.66GHz 4GBytes / MBP 13" - Snow Leopard plus Centos4 & XP Pro in Parallels
Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 23-Mar-11 11:46:16
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: Basenji] [link to this post]
 
Basenji,

Thanks for that link. Most useful!

Getting just the right driver for the Mac is tricky because it's an HP Laserjet 4M Plus (PS600) that I've got and neither the list to which you pointed nor HP's website includes specifically the Laserjet 4M Plus. This is a model dating back to the mid 90s, which was specfically for both Macs and Windows PCs. You have to be very careful indeed when selecting the driver, even in Windows, as there were several 4 Series printers produced with very similar names but different functionalities. For example, the OSX10.6 listing shows Laserjet 4 Plus, Laserjet 4M, and Laserjet 4MP, but the 4 Plus and the 4MP are definitely not the same as mine. The 4M might be, but I'm not 100% certain. It's a very long time since I had to consider this.

The 'M' designation of the printer, of course, referred to Mac. I can't recall what the 'Plus' stood for; it might be dual-compatibility for Mac and Windows or it might be a reference to its Postscript ability. Even the HP brochures I've kept from the 90s never made it totally clear.

There are quite a lot of differences between all the various 4 Series models, both in the hardware and in the degree to which you can configure the printer, so it gets quite tricky. When you first install the 4M Plus's driver in Windows, even Windows chooses the wrong driver and you have to use 'Update Driver' and point it to the correct one.

The important thing here is that the printer will be used by both a Windows machine and the Mac on the network. I've already 'programmed' the printer for networked TCP/IP operation, given it an IP address, and have set the printer driver up and tested it on the Windows machine and it all works fine on that. It's now really just a matter of finding the absolutely correct driver in Snow Leopard, if it's there.

I asked about this in my local Apple Store the other week and the guy there couldn't find the exact one in Snow Leopard, so he went to the HP site, found it there, but then was directed back to Snow Leopard. We 'sorta' concluded that it was there, in Snow Leopard.
Standard User ian_c
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 23-Mar-11 13:31:39
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Re: Getting a Mac: some networking queries


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
In Snow Leopard printer drivers are distributed via the software update system. One problem has been that HP in particular has been very poor at updating its drivers and quite a few printers didn't play nicely as a result - not certain what the current sitch is.

(Side issue: it occurs to me that a mid-90s model won't have USB. Is it networked?)

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