AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol

Definition of AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol

AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP) is a network protocol used in AppleTalk networks to map a node’s physical hardware address to its logical network address. It functions similarly to the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) in TCP/IP networks. AARP enables communication between devices on an AppleTalk network by allowing devices to find each other’s physical addresses using their network address.


AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be represented as:/ˈæpəltɔːk ˈædres rɪˈzɒlʊʃən ˈprəʊtəkɒl/Here’s the phonetic breakdown word by word:- AppleTalk: /ˈæpəltɔːk/- Address: /ˈædres/- Resolution: /rɪˈzɒlʊʃən/- Protocol: /ˈprəʊtəkɒl/

Key Takeaways

  1. AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP) is a protocol specific to the AppleTalk networking system, which maps AppleTalk network addresses to Ethernet or Token Ring hardware addresses.
  2. AARP facilitates communication between devices on a local network, by resolving the physical address of a device based on its logical network address, allowing data packets to reach their intended destination.
  3. Although AppleTalk and AARP are now obsolete, they were widely utilized in Apple Inc. devices until the late 1990s and the rise of Internet Protocol (IP) and Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) as standards.

Importance of AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol

The AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP) is an essential aspect of computer networking as it facilitates communication within AppleTalk networks by allowing devices to discover and identify one another’s physical hardware addresses.

AARP, designed specifically for Apple systems, plays a crucial role in sustaining seamless communication between devices, ensuring proper data transfer by mapping AppleTalk Network addresses to their corresponding Media Access Control (MAC) addresses.

By enabling the resolution of higher-level network addresses into lower-level hardware addresses, AARP contributes significantly to the efficiency and reliability of AppleTalk networks, making it an important term in the realm of technology.


AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP) serves a crucial purpose in computer networking, particularly in facilitating seamless communication between Apple devices within a local network area. Its primary function is to map or resolve AppleTalk network addresses to their corresponding physical hardware or Media Access Control (MAC) addresses, thus enabling data transfer between interconnected devices.

AARP is an essential component of the AppleTalk networking suite, which was developed by Apple Inc. in the 1980s to provide a simple, plug-and-play networking solution for their computers and peripherals.

At its core, AARP plays a vital role in managing network traffic by converting device-specific addressing information into a universally recognizable form, ensuring that packets of information are correctly routed and delivered to their intended destinations. When a device needs to transmit data to another device within an AppleTalk network, it first sends out an AARP request in search of the recipient’s network address.

Once the target device’s MAC address has been determined, AARP then establishes a temporary or permanent pair between the two AppleTalk addresses, facilitating future communications between the devices. This level of automation makes the AppleTalk networking protocol remarkably user-friendly, as it minimizes the need for manual configuration, while maintaining efficient and reliable device-to-device communication.

Examples of AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol

Apple LaserWriter Printer: Released in the mid-1980s, the Apple LaserWriter was among the first laser printers available for the mass market—the AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP) played a crucial role in its success. AppleTalk enabled LaserWriter printers to be automatically discovered on the network, allowing users to seamlessly connect to and print from them without needing additional configuration. With AARP’s help, these printers quickly became household names and transformed printing technology.

Apple File Sharing Networks: One common use of AppleTalk in the past was for the convenient sharing of files in homes, offices, and schools. Through AARP, Apple computers on a network could identify and communicate with one another’s file systems, making it easy for users to share folders, documents, and applications. This allowed for significantly improved collaboration and resource sharing among colleagues without necessarily involving any central server.

LocalTalk Network: In an era where LocalTalk networks were present in numerous schools, offices, and even homes, AARP facilitated smooth and effortless communication among various Apple devices. LocalTalk was Apple’s proprietary cabling and networking system commonly used with Macintosh computers. AARP played an essential role in helping LocalTalk networks automatically recognize and assign addresses to various devices, enabling seamless connections and quick data transmission between different systems.AppleTalk has mostly been replaced by more recent technologies like TCP/IP and Wi-Fi in today’s networked environments. Although AARP is no longer in active use, it played a significant role in shaping the early ecosystem of network communication in Apple products.

AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol

What is AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP)?

AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP) is a networking protocol used in AppleTalk networks to map the network layer address to the data link address. It is designed specifically for the AppleTalk network systems, allowing the devices to communicate within the network seamlessly.

How does AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol work?

AARP works by using a request-response mechanism in which a device sends an AARP probe packet to find the target’s data link address (Data Link Layer address). The target device responds with its data link address, and the requesting device stores the address in its translation table for future communication.

What are the main features of AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol?

Some of the main features of AARP include automatic address assignment, collision detection, address reuse, and support for multiple physical networks. These features make AARP an efficient and effective protocol for establishing communication between devices on an AppleTalk network.

What is the difference between AARP and ARP in networking?

While both AARP and ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) are used for resolving addresses in a network system, AARP is specifically designed for AppleTalk networks. On the other hand, ARP is a more general protocol that can be used in various types of networks, including IP-based networks.

Is AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol still in use today?

AppleTalk has been largely phased out in favor of modern networking protocols like TCP/IP. While AARP played a crucial role in AppleTalk networks, its use has significantly diminished with the decline of AppleTalk. Most networks today operate using more advanced and widely compatible solutions, making AARP a more historical reference for networking experts.

Related Technology Terms

  • AppleTalk Network
  • Data Link Layer
  • Node Address
  • Network Address Resolution
  • Packet Datagram Protocol

Sources for More Information


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