Configuring and using NetBIOS

NetBIOS and multiple subnetworks

When NetBIOS was originally designed and implemented, it was envisaged that it would only be required to run on individual LANs. What was not envisaged was the explosion in use of LANs and the resulting connectivity options that are now available. It is not unusual for LANs to be interconnected via gateways, that is, machines that have connections to more than one LAN (or subnetwork as it is technically known) and have software to route information between networks. This is shown in the figure shown below.

NetBIOS subnetworks

As it was originally implemented NetBIOS could not work across this gateway. For example, if ``NetBIOS Client A'' wants to use a service on ``NetBIOS Client C'', this is no problem as both clients are on the same subnetwork (Subnetwork A). However, if ``Client A'' wants to use a service on ``Client E'', this would not work under the original versions of NetBIOS.

SCO NetBIOS now supports connection to multiple subnetworks. Providing NetBIOS is configured correctly, services on one subnetwork can be made available to NetBIOS clients on another subnetwork.

To locate the names and locations of NetBIOS services, SCO NetBIOS now also supports the use of DNS (Domain Name System) and WINS (Windows Internet Naming Service). Previously, if a service name could not be found in the local NetBIOS name table, a broadcast message was sent out on the attached subnetwork. The drawback of this was that only a directly attached subnetwork could be searched using a broadcast. If the service was on a remote subnetwork, it would not be found.

A host can be configured to find out the names and locations of NetBIOS services in the following ways:

The names and locations of NetBIOS services can be added to the /etc/lmhosts configuration file (see lmhosts(4tcp)). This file is loaded into the NetBIOS name cache that resides in memory whenever NetBIOS is started. When a NetBIOS service is requested, the request is first looked up in the name cache to try to determine where the service resides.

Look up a service name by querying a WINS server. For information on the configuration of WINS, see the documentation supplied with the Advanced File and Print Server (AFPS).

A broadcast message is sent out on the attached subnetworks to try and locate the service.

Look up a service name by querying a DNS name server.

NOTE: How NetBIOS uses WINS, broadcasting, and DNS is controlled by the NB_NAMESEARCH environment variable in the file /etc/inet/nb.conf. To use WINS, the NB_WINS_PRIMARY environment variable (and possibly also NB_WINS_SECONDARY) must be used to define a WINS server (and backup server). For more information see netbios(1Mtcp).

© 2004 The SCO Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
UnixWare 7 Release 7.1.4 - 22 April 2004