AppleTalk is a protocol associated with Apple networks. The AppleTalk protocol is an established protocol, having been introduced in the early 1980s, and continued development toward the end of the 1980s enabled it to become a viable internet-working protocol.

Like the IPX/SPX and TCP/IP protocol suites, the AppleTalk protocol suite is composed of several protocols. Table 4 lists the protocols within the AppleTalk protocol suite and their functions.

Table 4 AppleTalk Protocols and Their Functions



OSI Layer


AppleShare provides application layer services, including file and print sharing.

Application (Layer 7)

AppleTalk Address Resolution Protocol (AARP)

AARP is used to map AppleTalk addresses to Ethernet and Token Ring physical addresses.

Network (Layer 3)

AppleTalk Data Stream Protocol (ADSP)

ADSP is a session layer protocol used to establish connections between network devices. It also functions at the transport layer and manages flow control.

Session (Layer 5)

AppleTalk Filing Protocol (AFP)

The AFP protocol manages file sharing for the network.

Presentation (Layer6)/ Application (Layer 7)

AppleTalk Session Protocol (ASP)

Similar to the ADSP protocol, ASP works at the session layer of the OSI model and establishes and releases connections between networked devices.

Session (Layer 5)

AppleTalk Transaction Protocol (ATP)

ATP establishes a connectionless session between networked systems. ATP functions at the transport layer.

Transport (Layer 4)

Datagram Delivery Protocol (DDP)

Performs datagram delivery and also handles routing functions.

Network (Layer 3)

EtherTalk Link Access Protocol (ELAP)

ELAP is a variation of the AppleTalk protocol that is compatible with the Ethernet protocol.

Data-Link (Layer 2)

Name Binding Protocol (NBP)

The NBP protocol is used to map computer hostnames to network layer addresses.

Transport (Layer 4)

Printer Access Protocol (PAP)

PAP is a session layer protocol used to provide printing services on an AppleTalk network.

Session (Layer 5)

Routing Table Maintenance Protocol (RTMP)

RTMP is the protocol on AppleTalk networks that maintains the routing tables for the network.

Transport (Layer 4)

TokenTalk Link Access Protocol (TLAP)

TLAP is a variation on the AppleTalk protocol that is compatible with the Token Ring protocol.

Data-Link (Layer 2)

Zone Information Protocol (ZIP)

ZIP is used to divide network devices into logical groups called zones.

Session (Layer 5)