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computer news with the teen perspective

Networking Your Macs
by Brandon Drezner
March 2nd, 2000

We welcome Brandon Drezner to the iTeen team with his first iTeen column!

It is only natural that in the course of our lives, we, as human beings will invariably accumulate a ton of junk. Amidst these collections, some of us are bound to have Macs lying around the house, in use or not. Wouldn't it be nice if you could get all of your Macs talking to each other, and even print sharing, file sharing, or utilizing a single internet connection.

First you'll need to check your Mac for an Ethernet port. Some may have an Ethernet port, but it may be the wrong type. If you don't have an Ethernet port in your computer, you'll need to buy an Ethernet card. They usually run around $60-$80. If your computer has an Ethernet port, but it is the wrong kind, (AAUI) then you'll need a cable to convert the AAUI port on the Mac to a 10 Base-T. The difference between 10 Base-T and AAUI, is that the 10 Base-T looks like a fat (wide) telephone jack, whereas the AAUI is more of a trapezoidal plug. CompUSA and many independent Mac shops usually carry the adapter you may need.

Next, the computers have to become physically connected to each other. For this, you'll need an Ethernet hub and some 10 Base-T cables. Plug the hub into its power source and then connect each machine to the hub with the Ethernet cables. When the machines are on, and the hub is plugged in, you should see a green light on the hub next to the jack for each computer you plugged into the hub. These lights are the "Link Active" lights. They let you know the computers are connected to the hub properly.

Now, having your computers all connected to each other won't do a lot of good if there isn't anything set up to be shared over the network. The most popular and common type of sharing is file sharing. This allows you to share files (bet you weren't expecting that one) between two or more computers. To start file sharing on a particular machine, open the "File Sharing" control panel and type in all of the required information. It's fairly self explanatory. Then click on the "Start" button and File Sharing will begin. It may ask you if you want to turn on AppleTalk. If so, click "yes." You then need to add users to your computers. With Mac OS 9, this is done in the File Sharing control panel. Earlier version of the OS have a seaparate control panel called Users and Groups. Once again, it is all fairly self-explanatory to add users once you open the control panel. From that point on, any users that you've set to access your computer will be able to do so. To gain access to a computer on the network, go into the "Chooser" and click on the "AppleShare" icon on the left, then select the computer on the right hand side.

Although this next form of "sharing" isn't quite as common as file sharing, it can easily prove to be just as helpful. Assuming you have a cable modem or DSL, (standard dial-up modems will work also, but things can get more complicated) you can allow all the computers on the network to share a single internet connection. I recommend a program called IPNet Router, by Sustainable Softworks, however, there are many to choose from. All you have to do is look around for them on the Internet. The actual configuring of the program is much more complicated and might be entitled something like "IP Masquerading, Virtual Routing, & Multi-Homing…The Final Frontier."

This layout of home networks is very simple and is meant more as an outline of how to go about setting up a network, than an instruction manual. If you do have more questions, feel free to e-mail me @, and I will be more than happy to provide additional details regarding your own network.

Got Tech?


P.S. For those of you who are curious, the following is what I've set up in my own home: The network consists of a PM6100 (w/a G3 card), Performa 630, Quadra 610, an iMac, and a cable modem, all connected with 10 Base-T and a hub. IP masquerading, file sharing, and remote access control, have all been set up on each computer.

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