In order to connect your Apple II to the network, you need a LocalTalk-to-Ethernet bridge. (Unfortunately, the Uthernet card will not work, as Apple's network drivers don't know what it is.)

If you have an enhanced Apple IIe, you will also need an Apple II Workstation Card, and, if you're not booting over the network, the Workstation Card software. Make sure you buy one with the dongle.   [    eBay   ]

These are the commonly available bridges; be sure you read below about their idiosyncracies before you buy one.
You'll also need an ImageWriter II printer cable (or any other 8-pin mini-DIN null-modem serial cable), or two LocalTalk transceivers joined by either a LocalTalk cable or four-wire phone cord, depending on whether you have Apple or PhoneNet transceivers. (PhoneNet transceivers also require a terminator at both ends; it looks like a phone plug with a resistor sticking out of it.) Connect each end to your Apple II and the bridge, and an Ethernet cable between the bridge and your router.

For an Apple IIgs, go to the Slots control panel by pressing ctrl-Apple-ESC, and set slot 1 or 2, depending on whether you are using the printer or modem port for networking, to "Your Card" (ROM 01 machines) or "AppleTalk" (ROM 3 machines), and set slot 7 to "AppleTalk" (ROM 01 machines only). For an Apple IIe, install the Workstation Card in any slot, and be sure to connect your LocalTalk cable to the port with the double-arrow icon.

If you have multiple Apple II's you'd like to network, you can use a bridge for each, or a single bridge attached to daisy-chained LocalTalk transceivers.

Wired ethernet is recommended, but if you have an Apple AirPort or Time Capsule, you can use Wi-Fi by attaching your LocalTalk-to-Ethernet bridge to a another AirPort, and setting up an extended network (if all AirPorts are 802.11n models), or a WDS (if any AirPort is an 802.11g model). (Most non-Apple routers and access points will not work because they are not designed to handle AppleTalk networking.)

Caveat emptor:

  • The AsanteTalk must be powered on while A2SERVER is up and running, or it will enter a mode where it won't operate correctly. (On the AsanteTalk, you will know it entered the right mode if the TX light blinks a lot during power-up. If it instead pulses only two or three times, then goes dark for a little while, and then pulses very rapidly for about three seconds, you'll need to remove power, make sure A2SERVER is running, and try again.)

  • At least some of the Dayna bridges must be attached to a 10Base-T Ethernet port; they won't work if attached to an autosensing 10/100 or Gigabit Ethernet port such as those found on modern routers and switches. You can buy a 10Base-T hub on eBay for around $10 to go between your router and the bridge.

  • Farallon bridges work fine with an Apple IIe. To prevent them from freezing a IIgs after a couple of minutes, you can download a fix for GS/OS (disk image or ShrinkIt format) and put it into SYSTEM/SYSTEM.SETUP, or you can log in to the A2SERVER console and type a2server-setup and you will be asked if you want to install it. Because the fix is for GS/OS only, Farallon bridges will not work with a IIgs booted directly into ProDOS 8. (Also note: the PN842 has a built-in 8-pin cable, and the PN848 and PN559 have a built-in PhoneNet terminated transceiver, so you might not need all the cabling described above.)

  • Using a classic Mac as a bridge works perfectly in all cases. Set AppleTalk to use the Ethernet port, attach the LocalTalk tranceiver or serial cable to the printer port (or printer/modem port), and install LocalTalk Bridge. (Recommended models: PowerBook 3400 with Ethernet, PowerBook G3 with black keyboard. Any model with both a round serial port and any kind of Ethernet, including via expansion card, AAUI adapter, or SCSI adapter, should work.)

    And finally:

  • The Cayman GatorBox CS and the Shiva FastPath IV and V have been reported to work, but it's hard to find these, so I have been unable to test. If you have one of these and it doesn't work, log in to A2SERVER and type netatalk-router-off (if you get "command not found", type a2server-setup to refresh the command list).

  • Other LocalTalk-to-Ethernet routers and bridges may work too, but haven't been tested by me.

    Thank you:

    Many thanks to Steven Hirsch, who fixed the Netatalk code in A2SERVER to make the Asante bridges start up reliably, and prevent the Dayna bridges from crashing the computer in GS/OS; and many thanks to Geoff Body, who contributed the patch to GS/OS to make Farallon bridges work reliably without freezing a IIgs after a few minutes. Also, thanks to all who have tested and sent reports on using A2SERVER with their bridges.


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