Apple Will Target Tigers Networking Glitches

Version 10.4.3 of OS X will fix problems with VPN connectivity, Active Directory integration and SMB file sharing, sources say.

Although two updates to Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS X Tiger have fixed many compatibility problems, enterprise networking problems persist. A new update, version 10.4.3, is expected this summer, and will address some of the remaining problems, according to sources.

Sources say that the update will fix continuing problems with integration with Microsoft Corp. Activity Directory, SMB file sharing and lower-level networking issues. Problems in these areas are being reported in discussion forums at Apples Web site and around the Internet.

VPN (virtual private network) connectivity, including connecting to Cisco Systems Inc.s concentrators, is one of the more persistent problem areas. Most VPN clients that worked under previous versions of Mac OS X were incompatible with Tiger 10.4.0. Apples 10.4.1 update fixed a kernel bug, enabling some VPN client developers to release Tiger-compatible versions.

Cisco has released two post-Tiger versions of its Mac OS X VPN client, but some problems have persisted. A May release, version 4.6.03, caused kernel panics on dual-processor Macs, which the company acknowledged at the release. Cisco followed up with the more stable version 4.6.04 in June, but noted that there were several unresolved problems with connecting through VPNs.

One of these prevents the VPN client from connecting when switching from networks or waking from sleep. Cisco has provided Unix commands that can reconnect when these problems occur.

Another option for Cisco users is to purchase a third-party IPsec VPN client that works in Tiger. VPN Tracker 4 from Equinux USA Inc. works under Tiger 10.4.1 or later to connect to the Cisco VPN 3000 Series concentrators. VPN Tracker is a universal IPsec VPN client that works with a number of VPN gateways.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read a comparison of Tiger and Windows Vista.

IPSecuritas client from Lobomoto can also connect to Cisco concentrators. Version 2.1 is compatible with Tiger 10.4.1 and later.

Another VPN client that isnt Tiger-compatible is the CheckPoint Systems Inc. VPN-1 SecureClient. Unlike Cisco, CheckPoint has not issued an update for Tiger. The company says it will not release a client that isnt secure, but that it is working on a new version. Sources say that the company wont have a Tiger-compatible VPN client before the end of the year.

Users can connect to CheckPoint VPN systems with VPN Tracker 4 from Equinux and with IPSecuritas 2.1 from Lobomoto.

In early July, Apani Networks updated its Nortel Networks Contivity VPN Client for Mac OS X for Tiger compatibility. The new version requires Tiger.

The Tiger updates dont always improve networking. Apples most recent update, 10.4.2, created a new problem that causes Adobe Systems Inc.s InDesign to crash when the Mac user tries to open or save an InDesign file on a Windows server. It isnt known if the upcoming Tiger 10.4.3 Update will fix the problems.

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.