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Configure and Troubleshoot Network Protocols (part 2) - WINS & NAT

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3/16/2011 10:33:37 PM

WINS

NetBIOS has been the backbone service that has, in the past, tied Microsoft’s networking services and resources together. Starting with the Windows 2000 operating system, Microsoft has slowly extricated itself from its reliance on NetBIOS as the primary name service on its networks. Windows Vista places more emphasis on the use of DNS although it requires the use of NetBIOS name resolution when services deployed are still using it. Due to this need, NetBIOS may still be around for some time.

NetBIOS names can be up to 16 bytes in length. This translates to up to 16 characters in a name. In Microsoft’s implementation of NetBIOS names, the 16th character is used to denote which service type the name represents. Thus, Microsoft’s NetBIOS names are capped at 15 characters.

Tip

Naming computers, workgroups, and domains can be complex if not handled correctly or planned well. The computer name for a Microsoft TCP/IP host takes on dual duties. The computer name represents the NetBIOS name as well as the first part of that computer’s FQDN. Recall that the FQDN takes the hostname component and appends the domain name to form the FQDN. In addition, if a computer is a member of a Microsoft domain, the first part of the domain component of the DNS name is also known as the NetBIOS domain name for Microsoft’s legacy NT LAN Manager (NTLM) services. NTLM was the dominant protocol for service access in most of Microsoft’s pre-Windows 2000 operating systems. NTLM is still used for backward compatibility. Therefore, this name should also adhere to the same 15-character limit for Microsoft NetBIOS names and must also be unique. There are many tangents from this discussion, but the preceding two points are important when NetBIOS name resolution is troublesome.


Microsoft’s service for NetBIOS name resolution is the Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS). WINS serves as a centralized name server for resolution of NetBIOS names. Microsoft computers configured with a WINS server address are WINS clients. The WINS server accepts unicast name resolution requests and returns the response to the WINS clients. As in the case with DNS name service configuration on the client, two WINS server addresses should be configured for a WINS client. Figure 3 displays where to manually configure the WINS server addresses.

Figure 3. Configuring WINS server addresses.


Tip

To access the dialog box displayed in Figure 3, follow these steps:

1.
Click Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Manage Network Connections.

2.
Select the appropriate network adapter.

3.
Right-click and select Properties.

4.
Select Properties on the General tab.

5.
Select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) protocol and click Properties.

6.
Click Advanced.

7.
Click the WINS tab.

8.
Click Add.

9.
Manually add your WINS servers by typing their IPv4 addresses.


Network Address Translation (NAT)

Network Address Translation (NAT) enables you to reuse the Private IPv4 address space inside enterprises. The Private IPv4 address space, as outlined in Table 1, has three different IP address ranges: one for each of the Class addresses, A, B and C, that are configurable on TCP/IP hosts. This ability to reuse these IP address ranges is attributable to the fact that these addresses must be translated, probably at the perimeter of a network, prior to connecting to the public address space. This is where NAT steps in.

NAT is a service provided by a network device that takes an internal Private IP address and translates it into one or more different Public IP addresses. The device that provides this service can be a firewall appliance, proxy application or device, small office/home office (SOHO) appliances like DSL routers and cable modems, or even Windows Vista. Although Windows Vista can provide this service through its Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service, this exam is about supporting enterprise desktops. A Windows Vista desktop within an enterprise probably doesn’t need to provide this service because a professionally equipped device on the enterprise network can provide it seamlessly to the client.

You should be aware that ICS also can provide a NAT-like service although ICS is unlikely to be used within an enterprise. ICS is more of a SOHO service where a Windows Vista computer can provide IP translation, DNS proxy service, and IP address allocation (a DHCP type of feature) to clients that are connecting to the Internet through a Windows Vista computer.

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