Apple IP Gatekeeping in 2024

This post has already been read 3259 times!

To continue on from the last post, which discussed AppleTalk, Ethertalk, and how routing between different Apple Internet Routers (AIR) is happening for #MARCHintosh, this post will be about IP Gatekeeping and how Apple provided software to help.

After joining up and getting my SE/30 online with #GlobalTalk (it has an ethernet card) I realized I wanted to get some of my other Macs – those without Ethernet cards – connected. I have a PowerBook 165c that I could use with my AirTalk boxes which are extending a Localtalk network in my basement. I’m waiting to get some more NeitherNet devices to connect more. But just plugging the AirTalk into the PB165 connected it right up and while slow (limited to LocalTalk speeds) it was working… for AppleTalk. What about all the cool TCP/IP apps? Gopher, WAIS and HTTP browsers. FTP retrievers. IRC and UseNet readers… I would like to be able to use them, but how?

To use those I needed another software service on my Gateway box: Apple’s IP Gateway software.


I found installer archive on MacGarden. Of course the forks were messed up and so I had to drop it into vMac, unstuff and mount. I found that the mounted image contained 2 folders… and I soon found out that those had been two different install floppies. I had to make 2 .img – one from each folder, then put them into a 1.5.1 .sit and move them over to my real mac- the Quadra 800.

Picture 1_2.
The Apple IP Gateway Installer splash screen.

Picture 2_2.

Doing Easy Install errors out… Somehow the installer realizes the 2nd disk isn’t correct (remember I had created it from a Folder on the .Sit archive where it was saved at some point in the past and uploaded to MacGarden.) and refused to install….

Picture 3_2.

The trick was just to select Custom install and only choose the first two items, both of which are located on the first disk.. so the installer never had to ask for the 2nd disk.

Successful Installation!

But more troubles….

Upon booting the Quadra had a Finder trap error and locked up. After booting with extensions off I finally solved the issue by doing a total round of re-installs of the AIR required software:

  • Installed Update 3
  • Installed AIR
  • Installed IP extension

Then the Mac booted and I could configure the IP Gateway!

Picture 6_2.


Configuration for the service is easy. Run the Manager and specify a block of IP addresses in your local lan that the service will hand out to connected clients. Ensure that block isn’t in any existing DHCP block that your other networking gear may be handing out. Then start up the Service and wait for some clients to connect….

Picture 4_3.

Picture 7_2.
PowerBook using Gopher with IP Gateway Support

Powerbook reading Usenet with IP Gateway doing the IP

Wait anyone on #GlobalTalk Can use This?

Yes, they can. Scott Small had an amazing idea: what if he could use my IP Gateway for his LocalTalk Macintoshes which were connected via LocalTalk in his #GlobalTalk network (up in BC, CA)? Would that work using my IP Gateway service? It seemed like it should.

I had already connected my PB165 but using OpenTransport. Scott had an SE but was using MacTCP. Initially he couldn’t get MacTCP to allow a Zone to be selected (he solved that later, see below). He did however also have a IIFX that had OpenTransport. After picking my Zone he was the first to use #Globaltalk for IP connectivity across networks!

Picture 1_3.
My IP Gateway Manager showing Scott’s IIFX connected and using TCP/IP via AppleTalk over #GlobalTalk!

Photo of Scott’s IIFX browsing using FrogFind and IP space from my Gateway.

Then Scott Posted his update for MacTCP! It worked as well.

You need to install the NS1-1.4.5 package for System 6.x and MacTCP. That installer is available at his #GlobalTalk share (and I’ve copied it over to mine as well).

With NSI 1.4.5 installed you can pick an AppleTalk Zone under the LocalTalk icon in the MacTCP Control Panel… Choosing my Zone, running my IP Gateway allowed his SE to use TCP/IP applications all via #GlobalTalk (and my ISP).

Scott’s SE connected to my IP Gateway via MacTCP

Scott’s SE pinging google with IP provided by my network and ISP.

So now we can transport IP across AppleTalk across IP (using the IP extension for the AIR).

What an amazing #MARCHintosh this has been so far.

What is the IP Gateway

The Apple IP Gateway is a software solution that allows Macintosh computers on LocalTalk networks to communicate using TCP/IP protocols, even though LocalTalk itself does not natively support TCP/IP.

Here’s how the Apple IP Gateway works:


  • The Apple IP Gateway software is installed on a Macintosh computer that is connected to both a LocalTalk network and an Ethernet network.
  • This Macintosh computer acts as a gateway between the LocalTalk network and the Ethernet network.


  • The Apple IP Gateway software is configured with the necessary IP addressing information, such as IP addresses, subnet masks, and default gateways.
  • Each Macintosh computer on the LocalTalk network is assigned a unique IP address from a reserved range of IP addresses.

Protocol Translation:

  • When a Macintosh computer on the LocalTalk network wants to communicate using TCP/IP, it sends the TCP/IP packets to the Apple IP Gateway.
  • The Apple IP Gateway receives the packets from the LocalTalk network and translates them into the appropriate Ethernet frames.
  • The gateway then forwards the Ethernet frames containing the TCP/IP packets to the Ethernet network.


  • The Apple IP Gateway acts as a router between the LocalTalk network and the Ethernet network.
  • It uses IP routing tables to determine the appropriate path for the TCP/IP packets to reach their destination.
  • If the destination is on the LocalTalk network, the gateway translates the Ethernet frames back into LocalTalk packets and sends them to the appropriate Macintosh computer.

Name Resolution:

  • The Apple IP Gateway also provides name resolution services for the Macintosh computers on the LocalTalk network.
  • It maintains a mapping between the AppleTalk names used on the LocalTalk network and the corresponding IP addresses.
  • This allows Macintosh computers to use familiar AppleTalk names while communicating using TCP/IP.

By using the Apple IP Gateway, Macintosh computers on LocalTalk networks can participate in TCP/IP-based communication, such as accessing the internet, sharing files using FTP, or using other TCP/IP-based services. The gateway acts as a bridge between the LocalTalk and Ethernet networks, enabling the Macintosh computers to take advantage of the benefits of TCP/IP networking.

It’s important to note that while the Apple IP Gateway provided a solution for integrating LocalTalk networks with TCP/IP, it has largely been phased out as Ethernet and TCP/IP have become the dominant networking technologies. Modern Macintosh computers now have built-in Ethernet or Wi-Fi capabilities and natively support TCP/IP networking.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.