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MAC novice needs networking help for strange problem.

Posted on 2004-10-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-13
Ok, I helping an individual who just purchased a new G5 IMAC and they are having a strange networking problem.  I am realtively inexpeirenced with Macs so I thought I would bring my question here.  Hopefully I can adaquately describe the problem.

Their office has a Mac server (sharing files) in their conference room.  This server is connected to 12 port hub in the conference room.  The hub feeds to another hub in their basement which then connects to their DSL router.  When the client was setting up the new IMAC they did so in the conference room which meant it was directly connected to the same hub the server is connected to.  While in the conference room the IMAC can communicate with the server (meaning access shared files) just fine.  Once the IMAC is moved into the individuals office...an plugged into the wall jack, which connects to the 2nd hub in the basement....the IMAC can no longer access (ping or share files) on the server.  The IMAC can access the Internet just fine.  As soon as the IMAC is unplugged and returned to the conference room....everything works fine.  Additinally, they have several other Macs in their office that are connected to the 2nd hub in the basement and they can access they server just fine.

Does anyone have any thoughts on where I should look for the source of this problem??  I'm stumped.

Here is an attempt at a diagram:

Server-------------->H
                             U
imac works--------->B------------------------------>2
                                                                      N
imac doesn't work---------------------------------> D
                                                                      H-----------------------------------> DSL Router--------------->Internet
                                                                      U
                                                                      B


Thanks.

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Question by:insightsolutions
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by:weed
ID: 12353333
Sounds like there are some routing problems. Are you sure one of those hubs isnt a router? Or perhaps a hub or switch that doesnt support appletalk?
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Author Comment

by:insightsolutions
ID: 12353486
I'm fairly certain the hubs are not routers or layer 3 switches.  They are fairly old 10/100 hubs.  I didn't know their were hubs that didn't support appletalk...but there are three other MACs in the office who are connected to the 2nd hub in the basement...and they have no problems with appletalk.

Thanks
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by:weed
ID: 12353627
Are you sure the others are using appletalk and not something else?
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by:insightsolutions
ID: 12363417
I'm not sure the specific versions of each MACs OS but obviously the new G5 IMAC probably has the latest.  If I remember correctly...each user uses the "finder" and then they type in the IP address of the server.  I don't know enough to answer if each machine is actually using appletalk or not.  How would I check?

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 12363910
It's not a matter of the latest. It's a matter of which one theyre using. Appletalk, SMB, FTP, Appletalk over IP, etc. It sounds like theyre using appletalk over IP though I dont have enough info to confirm.
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Accepted Solution

by:
idarmadi earned 63 total points
ID: 12408419
insightsolutions,

This might sound strange, but try to reset one or both of the hub/switches.  If there's no reset button, just unplugged it for 10 seconds.  Do this while nobody is using the network, or someone might got disconnected.

We have this case when some laptop move from one location to another location, the laptop will just lost some access.  We just need to reset the hub/switch, and the connection return to normal.

Quick and dirty solution.
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Author Comment

by:insightsolutions
ID: 12412121
Thanks for the feedback guys.  My friends office is closed this week but I'll be checking in with him next week and let you know what happens.
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Assisted Solution

by:rmcferren
rmcferren earned 62 total points
ID: 12899087
If they are using hubs, you should not have such problems.  Hubs are Layer 1 devices (they handle the electrical signals and they don't know what those signals mean).  If you have switches, again no problems, because they handle the MAC (Media Acess Control NOT Macintosh) addresses and do nothing with Appletalk, the only source of the problem could be the router, which is not relevant due to it's location on the network.  My only thinking is if the traffic is too heavy on the second hub/switch.  If it is a hub it would be throughout the network, if it is a switch turning off one computer might help.  The problem may be with the hub itself.  The only thing I can think of is a bad connection in the hub that connects that port to the router and not the other hub (and the server), I have never heard of this and it would be on both PCs and Macs.  Tell the IT person to upgrade to switches either way, the cost diffrence is too low to benefit from hubs anymore.
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by:idarmadi
ID: 12900456
rmcferren,

theoritically, it's like what you said.  In real life (at least mine), I found out that resetting/unplugging a switch (those cheap one by linksys or dlink) does solve a problem similar to what was described by insightsolution.

Our problem does not only affect mac (with its appletalk), but also affect desktop/notebook pc (when we move it to different location).
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