Network Stability

Checklist

The main check list

Fortunately with a Macintosh system, all network tools are available straight out of the box. Therefore the only thing you have to do is turn on the network and, for stability, install the latest network software from Apple and/or clean up certain preference files.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Turn on AppleTalk in the Chooser! Yes, this may sound a little funny, but you'd be surprised how many people forget to turn on AppleTalk.
  2. Select Open Transport or Classic Networking using the Network Software Selector that came with your computer. Then open the Network control panel (for Classic Networking) or the AppleTalk control panel (for Open Transport) and select the right network (i.e. Ethernet, Localtalk, TokenRing etc).
  3. Install the complete network software using your system software installation disks. Perhaps you may have some missing software extensions.
  4. Try connecting to the network from a different location. Different network sockets may provide better network access.
  5. "Drop-offs" from a network server, as they are called in the IT industry, can be due to memory errors. Make sure your computer has enough memory when connecting to the network.
  6. Sometimes a Macintosh computer may not reboot after a drop-off from the network and has to be rebooted using the power switch. If this is your problem, try using the latest system software. Old (pre-G3) Power Macintosh computers using System software version from 7.5 to 7.5.4 tend not to send the correct disconnection codes on reboot. (The Macintosh computer is not implicitly accessing or recognising that the ethernet port is active at start up and requires it to be explicitly set after startup).
  7. Trash the Finder preference file and restart the computer.
  8. Trash the AppleTalk or Network preference file and restart the computer.
  9. Remove the Users & Groups data file from the Preferences Folder.
  10. Make sure there is adequate memory on the hard disk for file sharing network situations. At least 1MB is recommended.
  11. Use the latest Open Transport software version and resave network configuration preferences. Open Transport is the new modern networking and communications system software for the Mac OS. It is based on industry standards and brings a new level of networking connectivity, control, and compatibility for Mac OS computers, while preserving built-in support for easy-to-use networking. Open Transport 1.1.1 is compatible with system software versions 7.5.3, 7.5.5 and later, as well as versions 7.1, 7.1.1, and 7.1.2.
  12. Open AppleTalk or Network control panel and check to see whether the correct network has been selected ie. LocalTalk or Ethernet.

Examples of network problems

Here are five common network-related problems:

Problem 1

Password entered is being rejected by the network.

Answer:

1. Your password should be changed after a certain period of time for security reasons. But rarely this is the problem as a message usually appears on the screen asking you to enter a new password.

2. Perhaps you have recently asked the local IT Help Desk Centre to change your password. If so, the network may take up to an hour before the password change is properly registered and has propogated to all the servers on the network.

3. You may have lost access to the network. Perhaps the servers are temporarily shutdown for general maintenance or upgrade reasons. But usually the most common problem is an accidental dislodgement of a network cable from the "concentrator" or "router" (especially inside a special room called the Communications Room) or the cable between the computer and the network socket.

4. Apart from a possible network cable problem, the user would need to check things like (i) CAPS LOCK and NUM LOCK (Are they turned off?); (ii) Correct choice of password (the user may have several passwords to remember in his/her mind); (iii) The password and username should be entered according to the rules set out by the administrator.

Problem 2

The network type keeps automatically resorting back to LocalTalk.

Answer

This is not really a network problem. The real cause for this minor annoyance is the battery on the logic board of the Macintosh computer - it needs to be replaced.

Problem 3

My PC friends have trouble opening any files I email them.

Answer

You are probably using a Macintosh computer to email your friends. You need to tell your email program to encode your attachments in a format your PC friends will understand. Go to the preferences section of your program and select "MIME/Base64" (or for Linux and Unix users, select "uuencode")

Problem 4

I can't get my MacOS9.x Macintosh computer to file share with a MacOSX computer on the same Ethernet network.

Answer

On the MacOS9 computer, open the File Sharing control panel and turn on "File Sharing" and check the box that says "Enable File Sharing Clients to Connect Over TCP/IP". In the AppleTalk control panel, choose Ethernet and then make sure your IP address configuration is correctly set. On the MacOSX computer, go to the Network pane in System Preferences and select "Built-in Ethernet and TCP/IP". Make sure the IP address configuration is correctly set. In the OSX Finder, select "Connect To Server" from the Go menu. Select "Local Network" from the dialog box. With a bit of luck, you should see your MacOS9 computer in a new window. But if not, you will have to manually type the MacOS9 computer's IP address in the Address field in the OSX Mac's "Connect To Server" dialog.