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AppleTalk zones going away in 2006

Date: 3/14/2005

During January, 2006, ITSS will be changing how the Macintosh AppleTalk protocol works on campus. Most Macintosh users may not even notice the changes, but departments with Apple LaserWriters will need to start planning for a replacement.

What is AppleTalk?

AppleTalk is the protocol that Macintosh computers use to connect to printers and file servers. There are two types of AppleTalk - we'll call these "Zone-based AppleTalk" and "AppleTalk IP". "Zone-based AppleTalk" is the only type that will be affected by our changes next January.

You use "Zone-based AppleTalk" when you connect to printers or servers by clicking on an AppleTalk zone name (which correspond to UMD buildings). You might do this in the OS9 Chooser, the OSX 10.3 "Network" icon, or the "Go:Connect to Server" menu option in OSX 10.2.

You use "AppleTalk IP" when you click on the "Server IP Address" button in the OS9 Chooser, type in a server name in OSX's "Go:Connect to Server" menu option, or add an LPR printer using OS9's Desktop Printer Utility or OSX's Print Setup Utility.

What will change?

Zone-based AppleTalk is a very "busy" and inefficient protocol and newer network hardware works better if it doesn't have to deal with this. Because of this, ITSS will stop routing Zone-based AppleTalk on our network beginning January, 2006. (The Twin Cities campus stopped routing it on their network last year.)

If you use Zone-based AppleTalk to connect to printers or servers in your own building, you'll continue to be able to do so after the change. However, beginning next January you will no longer see the rest of the campus AppleTalk zones; you will only see the printers and servers in your own building. To connect to printers and servers outside of your building, you'll need to use AppleTalk IP.

Newer printers (HP LaserJets, for example) can be printed to using both Zone-base AppleTalk and AppleTalk IP. Some older printers, mostly Apple LaserWriters, can only be printed to with Zone-based AppleTalk and will no longer be able to be used except from Macintoshes in the same building. Windows users will not be able to print to Apple LaserWriters even if they're in the same building.

If your department is using an Apple LaserWriter for Windows users or to receive print jobs from Twin Cities administrative systems you'll need to plan on replacing it before the end of the 2005. Many departments have queues set up on our central system print server Our print server, however, has to use Zone-based AppleTalk to send the print job to Apple LaserWriters, and that will no longer work after next January.

Beyond needing to replace any remaining Apple LaserWriters on campus, most people will be unaffected by these changes. Macintosh users will still be able to print to most printers on campus and connect to AppleShare servers. The main change will be that you'll need to know the name of the printer or server instead of "discovering" the name in the AppleTalk zone list.

In case you're wondering, the Novell Office Server currently uses Zone-base AppleTalk for Macintosh connections. During the next six months ITSS will be upgrading the Office Server and Macintoshes connecting to the new server will use AppleTalk IP.

More information about this change will be available next fall, but since this change may require replacing some (now very old) Apple printers we wanted to give departments as much lead time as possible for budget planning.

If you have any questions relating to these changes, contact Joel Ness (x8841, email:jness).

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