Fix Network Problems – But Clean Up The Protocol Stack First

Windows Networking, the set of programs that let your computer share files with other computers, is built around TCP/IP. It uses Server Message Blocks (SMBs) hosted over NetBIOS Over TCP/IP, as the preferred transport for file and printer sharing. You can use alternate transports, if you wish, but you should make sure that all computers in your network use the same transports. With some computers using one transport, and other computers using another, you will get unpredictable results.

  • Network Neighborhood may be inconsistent between computers. Some computers may be inaccessible, or invisible, in Network Neighborhood.
  • One or more computers may be slow, when connecting to network shares.
  • Refreshing a display of Network Neighborhood may take a long time.

The protocols are the languages which the computers speak, when they talk to each other (advertise shared files, etc). Your computers will share files best, when they all speak the same languages.

You can ensure that all computers speak the same language, if you cleanup, and standardise, the protocol / transport stack on each computer. Examine the list in the (Settings – Network Connections – ) Local Area Connection – Properties wizard.

On a properly setup, and standard, system, you should require only the following items in the components list:

  • Client for Microsoft Networks.
  • File and Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks.
  • Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

You may also see, and wish to leave, any of the following items in the list:

  • AEGIS Protocol (IEEE 802.1x) (AEGIS is seen on some WiFi clients, and on otherwise properly working configurations, does not cause problems).
  • Network Monitor Packet Driver (NMPD is seen on some WiFi clients, and on otherwise properly working configurations, does not cause problems).
  • QoS Packet Scheduler (QPS is optional, and has caused no known problems).

There are several network components, that you normally do not need, which you might see in the transports list. Depending upon your version of Windows, the names may vary.

  • IPV6, which is not always compatible with NetBIOS Over TCP/IP, may be listed as:
    • Automatic Tunneling.
    • Teredo Tunneling.
    • Microsoft TCP/IP Version 6.
  • Netware Client, which is legitimately necessary in one specific case, may be listed as:
    • NWLink IPX/SPX.
    • NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport Protocol.
  • NWLink NetBEUI.

The presence of IPV6 may hamper the diagnosis of your problems. Please remove IPV6 while we are working on your problems; if you truly need it, you can re install it later.

Installation of alternate transports, like IPX/SPX or NetBEUI, has been used as a workaround, in the past, if there’s a problem related to TCP/IP on the LAN. Understand the drawbacks and limitations of using alternate transports.

Removal of unnecessary entries, from the transports list, is simple. Don’t bother with de activating the components in question, un install them.

  • Highlight the network component to be removed.
  • Hit the Uninstall button below the list.
  • Follow instructions.
  • Restart the system when requested.

Finally, make sure that NetBIOS Over TCP/IP (aka NetBT) is explicitly Enabled (unless you’re intentionally using IPX/SPX or NetBEUI, or you’re using Directly Hosted SMBs).

For additional discussion, see these articles:

Fix the problem. Don’t add to it.

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