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Apple PowerBook Duo 230 – Networking

So, after getting the keyboard working again on this PowerBook Duo 230, it was time to connect it to the big-bad-internet. Back in the day, this little laptop was all about portability and so therefore meant a small form-factor and a very limited set of ports! On the back, you get the standard Printer/Modem Serial Port, a docking port and an optional internal fax/modem.

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To get networking running, we'll be using the serial port and a bridge, of some description...

Asante AppleTalk Bridge

Back in the day, you'd dial-up from the hotel room you were staying in and get work done. Nowadays... it's all Wireless, so this laptop is well out of it's depth. Fortunately, we can still use ethernet via the use of an AppleTalk Bridge.


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I initially tried to make a pseudo-wireless network with my Vonets Wireless bridge. Unfortunately, with this setup I was unable to list any AppleTalk Servers in Chooser. As soon as I plugged in ethernet, the TX/RX lights went a lot crazier and A2SERVER appeared! So.. after a bit of REALLY SLOW copying... what can we do with this?


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Yesss... but let's test out a software bridge... These hardware bridges are expensive!

Standard LocalTalk

Using a standard serial cable, you can connect your laptop to another Macintosh. I was surprised with how easy this was... you don't even need a special serial cable!? I would've at-least expected a proprietary Apple serial crossover cable. With a cable I had used for the bridge abvoe, I just plugged it between the Power Center and the PowerBook.

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And, just like that, it worked!

Apple LocalTalk Bridge

Another method is via Apple's LocalTalk Bridge software. Using the above serial connection, you can supposedly have the other Macintosh route LocalTalk traffic onto the Ethernet network via the LocalTalk Bridge software. Supposedly you just drop the control panel into the System folder and reboot. Unfortunately... I couldn't get it working easily... but didn't really try too hard!


Meanwhile, if you, like me, can't be bothered getting Apple's LocalTalk Bridge software to run, Low-end Mac has a great write-up on the usage of other bridge software.

AppleTalk tunnels over the Internet

Finally, like we used to do with IPX tunnels, you can even bridge AppleTalk via bbraun's AppleTalk Bridge Software. Unfortunately, I don't have a remote Macintosh AppleTalk network to join, so I'll give this a miss for now!

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