Windows Internet Naming System

Microsoft uses NetBIOS to resolve friendly device names to IP addresses in Windows. By default, Windows computers send NAME_QUERY broadcasts to all devices on a segment, and the device with the NetBIOS-friendly name being requested responds with its IP address. To reduce the number of broadcasts generated by NetBIOS devices, it is recommended that Windows network clients use the Windows Internet Naming System (WINS).

WINS is a service (included with Windows NT Server) that provides a dynamic NetBIOS name registration database similar to the service DNS provides for Internet names. WINS server IP addresses can be automatically assigned to PCs using DHCP. Windows clients register their NetBIOS names with the WINS server upon startup and then send unicast requests directly to the WINS server, to resolve NetBIOS names to IP addresses, virtually eliminating NAME_QUERY broadcasts. In Figure 3-9, in the NetBIOS over TCP/IP environment without WINS, PC A sends NetBIOS broadcasts for name resolution and will not locate remote clients unless the NetBIOS broadcast is bridged across the WAN. As shown on the right of Figure 3-9, using WINS, the unicast request generated by PC A is routed, and PC A gets the information from the WINS server.

Figure 3-9 NetBIOS over TCP/IP and WINS Traffic Flow

Figure 3-9 NetBIOS over TCP/IP and WINS Traffic Flow

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