3. The Effects of the IPX/SPX and NetBEUI Protocols on Browsing

Microsoft networking uses NetBIOS. However, NetBIOS can use the TCP/IP protocol (when it is generally referred to as NBT or NetBT), the IPX/SPX protocol or the NetBEUI protocol, which can introduce a few complications! A PC using NBT can actually only communicate with other PCs running NBT. A PC using NetBIOS over IPX/SPX can only communicate with other PCs using NetBIOS over IPX/SPX, and similarly for PCs using NetBIOS over NetBEUI. It is also quite possible for a PC with more than one protocol installed to be communicating via NetBIOS over all of them at once! Within a subnet, there will be a different browse list for each protocol. For NetBEUI, however, the browse list is maintained university-wide.

We recommend that you use NBT and it is the only one that the WINS servers support. By default, if you have TCP/IP installed, NBT will be enabled, so you don’t generally need to alter anything manually.

Generally you don’t need to worry about NetBIOS over IPX/SPX because like NBT, NetBIOS broadcasts over IPX/SPX are stopped at routers.

It is the NetBEUI protocol that tends to change what you can browse quite dramatically. This is because it is a non-routed protocol and it is not blocked at routers, which means that you can see PCs on other subnets that are also using NetBEUI. Use of NetBEUI is not recommended and it is best removed unless absolutely essential. Although you may like being able to browse more parts of the network, you will never see all PCs because you can only see those PCs that are also using NetBEUI and on some subnets it is filtered out completely. Using NetBEUI increases network traffic because broadcasts are university-wide, and with Microsoft moving away from name resolution via broadcasts and WINS to using the DNS, browsing is on the way out anyway.

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