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Network Setup Move Files Share Internet Share a Printer Fixing Problems Finding Products
Switched Ethernet
Ethernet for more than two computers
Crossover Ethernet
Ethernet for two (and only two) computers
AirPort (wireless)
Apple's AirPort and other wireless network options
Home Phone Lines
Products that use home phone lines to create a network
Connecting LocalTalk networks to Ethernet
Two-Mac LocalTalk
LocalTalk networks for two (and only two) Macs
3+ Macs LocalTalk
LocalTalk networks for more than two Macs
Two Mac Localtalk

For older Macs that have serial (printer and modem) ports, a LocalTalk network is probably the cheapest and easiest option, requiring only a single serial cable. Since it only uses the one cable, however, you're limited to two Macs.

Note that LocalTalk is pretty slow and will only transmit network data at about 30K per second, so transferring large files can take a long time and your computer will become sluggish during network use. If you need to copy large files, or back up your hard disk, you should consider using Ethernet instead.

Serial Cable Network Setup
You only need one serial (printer) cable to create this network. Just plug the cable into the printer ports of the Macs you want to connect. Make sure to turn off the power before connecting things to the printer port.

You don't have to use the printer port, but Apple uses it by default. You set the network port from the AppleTalk control panel (Network control panel for System 7 users).

What to do next
Once you have your computers connected, see the functional parts of the site (Move Files, Share Internet, etc) to make your network do something.
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