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Why so many problems obtaining IP Address using DHCP with Cable Modems?

Posted on 2000-04-23
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
I work with the installation of cable modems, and I am surprised at the number of Macintosh computers (especially new iMacs) that cannot immediately obtain and IP Address.  To solve, we try some seemingly silly things like making AppleTalk inactive (and then activating it again), or changing the port AppleTalk is using.  Sometime we have to trash the TCP/IP Preferences, boot using the Mac OS x.x All extension set, or play with the 'Load only when needed' checkbox (selecting or deselecting it) before the Mac obtains an IP Address.  Most often we see this problem with the Built-in Ethernet port, despite the presence of the Ethernet (Built-in) or the Apple Enet extensions.

I have two questions.  First - can anyone explain why this problem seems so prevalent?  Second - are we missing some troubleshooting steps that would help us quickly identify and resolve this problem?

We support Mac OS 7.6 and above, use DOCSIS cable modems from 3Com & Toshiba, connect the cable modem directly to the computer (not through a hub), and have no TCP/IP settings to speak of since our DHCP server also supplies the DNS info.  We create a new TCP/IP configuration, set to Connect via Ethernet & Configure Using DHCP server, and leave all other fields blank).

Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:Pachelbel042300
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weed earned 98 total points
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Some of the old Operating Systems had DHCP acquisition issues. The problem was fixed with the latest version of Open Transport (2.6.1?) which also ships with OS 9. You will also want to be sure that you have the latest firmware for the iMac. All such bits are available from www.versiontracker.com which will has a section dedicated to providing you with the latest updates for all the current macs.
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by:Steven_K
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Prior to OS 9 a Mac must have appletalk working somewhere for ethernet tcp/ip to work. Some models seemed to require appeltalk to go to ethernet at least occasionally in order to get that port to come up.

I agree older versions of OT had problems with DHCP but recall who defined dhcp....

Since you mention OS 7.6...
1) update to 7.6.1
this will leave you at version OT 1.1 which nobody supports but has other updates very worthwhile.

2) update OT to at least 1.1.2 which is available as a stand alone update. This is the first "good" version of OT for general purposes - no comment on dhcp behavior (we've seen it differ between 68k and ppc machiens even if both have the same OS and OT.) Various documentation also speaks of 1.2 being supported on older OSes but the only way i know to install it is a custom install off a system 8.0 installer. After that the version of OT is officially tied to the version of OS (while the obvious parts of OT can be moved around there are several other parts that directly relate to OT - ethernet drivers, shared code libraries, network extensions, appleshare and filesharing parts) so mixing newer OT's with older OSes is "not supported" and you will at least have to find your own mix if you go that route.

3) look through apple.til and apple network discussion areas and you will see extensive conversation about apple enet extensions especially if someone installed an asante ethernet card. And extension "Ethernet (Built In)" versions prior to 2.0.4 were problematic on faster/newer systems. I think this was wrapped into OS 8.5 finally but it is available seperately. In fact if you put in a g3 card we've seen less problem with that version even if running an older OS.

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by:Steven_K
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any progress here?
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by:Bateman
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I don't know whether it is relevant but is this linked to the dropping network problem that has plague the new i-Macs and G4's. Apple at last released a fix (Ethernet Update 1.0) which fixed that problem. Maybe it might help u?
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