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Switch AppleTalk between AirPort and Ethernet Network
AppleTalk can only be active on one port at a time, so if you switch from wired to wireless often, it can become a bit annoying to switch locations or to manually modify the AppleTalk settings everytime you change. AppleTalk switching is really clunky at present -- I wish Apple would come up with something more Mac-like.

This solution isn't much help, but I find it more convenient than switching locations from the Apple Menu. If it's set up correctly, you can turn AirPort on and off as needed using the AirPort status icon in the menu bar, and AppleTalk will be automatically switched for you. I find toggling AirPort from the AirPort status icon in the menu bar easier than digging into the Location menu under the Apple Menu. As an added benefit you only need one location (e.g., "Automatic") to make this work.

Here's how I've set it up.

On your "Automatic" location (or the location setting of your choice), arrange the Network Port Configurations (System Preferences > Network > Show > Network Port Configurations) so that AirPort is first in the list, and Built-in Ethernet is second. You can drag them to arrange them. Configure the AirPort and Built-in Ethernet settings on this location for your wireless and wired network settings, respectively. Be sure to tick the checkbox to "Show AirPort status in menu bar" under the AirPort tab of the Network preference pane.

Next, with AirPort on, set AppleTalk to Active on the AirPort configuration. Now when you are plugged into the wired LAN, simply turn AirPort off from the status icon in the menu bar. AppleTalk will automatically switch to your Built-in Ethernet connection. When you un-plug from the wired network to go wireless, simply turn AirPort back on and AppleTalk will switch back to your AirPort connection.

[robg adds: This previous hint explained how to do the same thing using some shell scripting...]
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Switch AppleTalk between AirPort and Ethernet
Authored by: brw3sbc on Apr 04, '05 06:22:43PM

I am mystified by this hint. I don't understand the problem for which a solution is being offered. It interests me because I frequently switch between my wireless (802.11g) and Ethernet connection here at home where I use an OS 9 machine as a server and I have a couple of LocalTalk connected printers, all on an Ethernet/LocalTalk bridged network that includes other computers and my wireless router. On my G3 500 PowerBook, I use Location to switch between the two connection and never have an issue connecting to my servers or my printers (Appletalk). Could it be because in each my Locations, I only have one choice of port selected (i.e. only Airport in Home Wireless and only Ethernet in Home Wired)? In both configurations, I have "Make AppleTalk Active" with Automatic configuration.

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Switch AppleTalk between AirPort and Ethernet
Authored by: TimBonnici on Apr 04, '05 07:21:42PM
Slightly tangentially I think it's worth mentioning the excellent Location X if you're switching network settings a lot. It reproduces a lot of the much-missed functionality of OS 9's Location Manager and provides a Menu Extra to switch between locations. The coolest bit is that it can change the server details in Entourage and Mail along with changing the usual things such as network, time zones, quicktime speed etc. This means that if, like me, you switch between ISPs depending on where you are then you don't have to do anything extra to send email. Without Location X you'd have to change the SMTP settings in the Entourage/Mail prefs each time. (PS: I'm not related to the Location X developers, just a satisfied customer.)

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There must be something else you need to do.
Authored by: jscarry on Apr 04, '05 11:40:04PM

I have the same configuration you mention but it doesn't work for me. I have a server set up at work to share files between users on the network and my 802.111b airport card is way to slow for large file transfers. I can turn off the airport, even if I'm already connected to the server, and the connection automatically switches to ethernet. But I can't print using Appletalk without turning Airport back on.

By the way, AFP shares on my remote XServe don't care if I turn Airport off after connecting either.

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No need to: Switch AppleTalk between AirPort and Ethernet
Authored by: macjordomo on Apr 05, '05 12:02:46PM

You CAN have AppleTalk active on two different ports.
Read the instructions at:

In my G5 have Appletalk active on the Ethernet, Airport and a PCI card Ethernet ports at the same time.


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No need to: Switch AppleTalk between AirPort and Ethernet
Authored by: macfeller on Apr 11, '05 11:26:05AM

That doc refers to Server. Can I assume your G5 is a server? My client OS X 10.3.8 does not have /var/db/SystemConfiguration/preferences.xml

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