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Configuring AppleTalk on a Cisco switch

Aug 04, 20033 mins
Cisco SystemsNetwork SwitchesNetworking

Nutter helps a reader with a new Catalyst switch and a handful of Macs

I just converted my company over to a Cisco Catalyst 6509 core switch. Several weeks after the fact I found out that there are a few Macs on the network that need AppleTalk enabled on the switch in order to talk to each other. I am not a Mac person and haven’t dealt with them a lot. How do I get the Macs talking to each other without interfering with the existing IP configuration of the switch?

– Via the Internet

It isn’t that hard. I would suggest getting the AppleTalk configuration guide from Cisco’s Web site for reference. I can give you a thumbnail sketch of what you need to do. The good news is the process won’t be that hard. What I’m going to walk you through is a “routed” AppleTalk configuration. The first step assumes you have already Telneted into the router and are in configuration mode.

  • Type AppleTalk routing and press the Enter key. The next steps will either need to be done at a VLAN level or at a port level if you’re switching at a port level.

  • Go to the interface or VLAN where you need AppleTalk running. Type AppleTalk cable-range 0-0 and press the Enter key.

  • Type AppleTalk discovery and press the Enter key.

  • Press Ctrl-Z until you are back out at the main router prompt. Type Term Mon and press the Enter key. This will let you see any AppleTalk-related messages that pop up in the autodiscovery process.

If you get a timeout message, which you can expect if there are no AppleTalk servers on a particular segment/subnet, you’ll need to manually configure the AppleTalk configuration. If any AppleTalk servers are found on a particular segment/subnet the discovery process will do the config work for you. If an AppleTalk server is found, you’ll notice the AppleTalk configuration will automatically change. You’ll want to disable AppleTalk discovery at the point.

If no servers are found on a particular segment/partition, you’ll want to disable autodiscovery to start. The next step will be to assign a zone number to the segment you’re working on. The syntax will be similar to AppleTalk cable-range 0-0 but using an actual number on either side of the dash instead of the 0-0. Look at the maximum number of Macs you expect on a segment. If it will be fewer than 254, you can use the same number on either side of the 0 on the AppleTalk cable-range command. If there will be more than 254, you’ll need to use something like AppleTalk cable-range 1-2. Each cable range can handle 254 Macs in that range. You’ll also need to enter AppleTalk zone followed by the zone name when manually enabling AppleTalk. You can use the same zone name on every port/VLAN on the switch if you so choose. As with any router change be sure to save the configuration periodically while making this change. I know that I haven’t been able to go into a lot of detail, but this should get you pretty close to where you want to be. After enabling AppleTalk on the switch, you will probably need to reboot the Macs in order for them to see the AppleTalk configuration on the Catalyst.