Why do you need a Router?
Routers divide the network into physically separate segments, and confine management traffic within these segments. Also, user traffic wholly within a given segment does not travel outside that segment. User traffic which must travel to another segment appears only in those two segments and the pathway between, never elsewhere. Routers eliminate network congestion by managing and controlling the broadcast of unnecessary data. This is especially important when dealing with "chatty" protocols like AppleTalk.
Any number of MultiPort/LT routers can be distributed on the corporate Ethernet backbone. LocalTalk-based networks may be scaled to thousands of connected computers by the simple process of divide-and-conquer. Because traffic is confined within the segments of each router, this approach leads to a quiet, lightly loaded Ethernet backbone.
Routers also allow you to create logical "Zones", which helps to organize access to system resources through the chooser. The MultiPort/LT further provides zone- and device-based filtering, which can be used to limit access by certain users to specified resources.
By contrast, the simple Ethernet wiring system just described still provides only a wide, flat network. There is no traffic segmentation, no logical zones and no access security. The traffic congestion problem is not solved, merely deferred, only to resurface again when the number of Ethernet-connected nodes approaches 100. To overcome congestion at this stage would now require the purchase of high-end Ethernet-based AppleTalk routers, at considerable additional expense.
The cost of a fully-featured Ethernet-only network, including AppleTalk routing, far exceeds the cost of a similarly capable MultiPort/LT LocalTalk based network. The actual performance advantage in many typical scenarios is minimal.
Tip: AppleTalk protocol permits the creation of multiple zones on any given Ethernet segment, with each device flexibly assigned to its own logical zone within the same physical segment. This is valuable, because your organizations structure is not necessarily duplicated by your physical network layout. LocalTalk segments do not have this flexibility. Consequently, if you attempt to couple LocalTalk and Ethernet segments using LocalTalk bridges, hubs, StarControllers, EtherSwitches or any other bridge-level device, you will actually impose LocalTalks single-zone limitation on the entire connected Ethernet segment. Only a Router, such as the MultiPort/LT, will preserve the Ethernets multiple-zone capability.
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Last updated March 21, 2005
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