AppleTalk is a proprietary suite of networking protocols developed by Apple Inc. for their Mac computers. AppleTalk included a number of features that allowed local area networks to be connected with no prior setup or the need for a centralized router or server of any sort. Connecting together AppleTalk equipped systems would automatically assign addresses, update the distributed namespace, and configure any required inter-networking routing. It was a plug-n-play system.
AppleTalk was released for the original Macintosh in 1985, and was the primary protocol used by Apple devices through the 1980s and 90s. Versions were also released for the IBM PC and compatibles, and the Apple IIGS. AppleTalk support was also available in most networked printers (especially laser printers), some file servers and a number of routers.
The rise of TCP/IP during the 1990s led to a re-implementation of most of these types of support on that protocol, and AppleTalk became unsupported as of the release of Mac OS X v10.6 in 2009. Many of AppleTalk's more advanced auto-configuration features have since been introduced in Bonjour.
Read more about AppleTalk: Design, Addressing, Protocols, Physical Implementation, Networking Model, Versions, Cross-platform Solutions