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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

SCSI On B&Ws, Mac Novell Networking, and SOHO Networking
May 6th, 1999

Come in, Come in! We don't bite here! In fact, we'll even answer a question or two for you! That's right, this week we answer readers' questions about using Narrow and Wide SCSI on the same bus, connecting iMac's to Novell networks, and the endless options available for connecting your small office to the Internet! That, and we've got some updates on a few previously covered topics, namely IDE chains in Beige G3's and upgrade paths for the Performa 6200 series! Read on!

Karl writes, "I'm planning to buy a new Mac soon, and I have several SCSI disks on my old machine that I might want to connect to the new one. I know that there are different speeds and widths of SCSI, and that most (all?) fast or wide devices (and controllers) will fall back to slow and/or narrow if they're talking to a less capable controller (or device).

If I have spend the money for a fast-wide controller, and then connect both a fast-wide disk and a slow-narrow disk to this controller, will I get slow-narrow performance from the fast-wide disk?"

Karl -- you're right -- many of the U/W SCSI cards out there will "fall back" and support older/slower SCSI devices. The good news is that you can usually configure them to do so without suffering a performance hit on your faster drives. You'll need some adapters to make the pin-outs work, but it's usually do-able. There are two things you'll need to watch out for during configuration. The first is that you cable your SCSI chain with the wider devices closest to the card. Once you put a "narrow" device on the chain, everything past that device will be accessed as "narrow" as well. The second thing you need to do is use the software that came with your SCSI card and configure the speed of each device. With most cards, this software configures device speeds by SCSI ID number, and is fairly straightforward in it's approach. Once you've done that (and terminated everything properly, of course!), you should be up and running.

Brenda writes, "We've been working several days on connecting a new iMac (the only Mac among over 100 machines running Windows) to a Novell network, version 3.11 Can't get Novell to recognize the iMac. We've got one person with Mac networking experience so I'm confident we know what we're doing, but we can't figure it out. Any suggestions?

Brenda -- Woohoo! May that lone iMac be only the beginning of the revolution! Anyway, back to the matter at hand. While this is possible, it requires that you change your approach. As opposed to making Novell see the Mac, you need to make Novell act like a Mac (so that the Mac can see Novell). To do this, you need to add name space support for Macintosh (so the server volume supports long file names like on the Mac), load the EtherTalk/AppleTalk networking protocols (so it can talk to the Mac), and load the AppleShare "emulator" (so it can appear to be an AppleShare-compatible server available to Macs on the network). This software is all part of the standard distribution of Novell 3.x, so you needn't worry about incurring extra costs (unless you need to connect more than 5 Macs at a time to the Server). These steps are described in the Netware manuals and I also found them in an article in Novell's Knowledge Base. Once you've done these things to the Novell Server, all you have to do is go to the Chooser (or Network Browser) on the iMac, and select the Novell Server from the list of AppleShare devices. Hope this helps!

Brian writes, "I have a small graphic design studio running 4 iMacs and an icebox G3 on a 100 Base-T network. Our 5 port hub has an uplink and I would like to purchase a router that would let everyone be online at the same time. I am trying to think long term so I want to get a router that is separate from the modem or ISDN adapter. I also want to be able to take advantage of DSL services that will be available in my area in the next 6-9 months.

I've looked through various catalogs and websites and I'm really confused about what product is right for our studio. Thanks for your help and if you get a chance check out our site."

Brian -- A product was recently released that does just this. The SOHO 2000 from Beadlenet will do everything you just described -- act as a separate router that you can plug into a Cable Modem, ISDN Router, xDSL device, you name it. The problem with doing this, of course, is cost. This device (and others like it, presumably) will run in the $300-$500 range for your size office. In addition to that, you need to buy the ISDN router, xDSL router, or Cable Router if your ISP doesn't provide this for you. The ISDN adapter could cost you ANOTHER $300-$500 on top of that, and would, most likely, perform a lot of the same features as the SOHO 2000. If you're starting with ISDN, I would get a 3COM OfficeConnect ISDN LAN Modem and use that for your routing. Once you need to move up to Cable or DSL access, that would be the time to investigate your options for standalone routers, since your Cable or Telephone company will most likely be renting you the access device.

One other thing you need to be aware of is that most internet routing devices use 10Base-T ports to connect to your network, not 100Base-T. You'll need to make sure your hub is "switchable" and will support the speed buffering that this difference requires. If it doesn't, you'll need a new hub that does.

And now it's time for some follow-ups from last week's column.

Beige G3 Update:

In an answer to a question about Beige G3 IDE hard drives, I wrote that they could be "master-slaved" and you could put 2 IDE devices on each bus. This was only partially true, as Mel, Tim, and Michael pointed out. Apparently, the first revision of the Beige G3 motherboard would NOT support this configuration, but the second configuration does. According to both an Apple TIL Article and XLR8YourMac, you can tell which revision you have by the model of graphics chip. The motherboards with a Rage II chipset are considered "Revision 1" and will only support 1 hard drive per IDE chain. Those with a Rage Pro chipset are "Revision 2" and will support 2 devices per chain. Thanks, everyone, for your keen eyes and quick responses!

Performa 6200 Upgrade information:

I also got two responses about upgrade possibilities for the Performa 6200 series. The first was an anonymous tip that Sonnet is hard at work trying to find a way to upgrade these people who had been "left in the dark ages." While there's no official comment on their progress, reports say that it is slow going, at best, due to the limitations of the original hardware. The second and more promising response came from Tim Smith who, very wisely, recommended checking with Shreve Systems for an upgrade possibility. For only $399 (and a trade-in of your old, dusty 6200 motherboard), you can bring yourself up to the speed of a PowerMac 6360/160! Get 'em while they're hot, though. Shreve Systems often sells surplus equipment that's no longer made, so when they're out, that's it! Thanks, Tim!

That's all for this week, folks. Keep those questions coming, and I'll keep batting your answers back to ya!

P.S. Have a Nice Day!  

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....

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