The Network Language That Your Computer Speaks

If you have Windows XP, and you just ran the Network Setup Wizard, your computer most likely uses NetBIOS Over TCP/IP (NetBT). If all of your computers use this same language, and were all setup properly, the chances are good that you will be able to share files with them.

There are other languages that your computers might speak.

  • NetBT uses IPV4, the current Internet addressing scheme of nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn. IPV6 will expand this to xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx, giving IPV6 almost infinitely more address space than IPV4.
  • NetBT is more completely known as “Server Message Blocks hosted over NetBT”. SMBs over NetBT is most useful in small LANs that use broadcasts for name resolution. If you have a LAN with a DNS server for local name resolution, you can Disable NetBT, and use SMBs directly hosted over IP.
  • There are odd circumstances where SMBs hosted over alternate protocols such as IPX/SPX or NetBEUI may be advisable.

Windows XP will support any of the above languages, if you already have a LAN, and want to keep your existing computers as they are right now. If you have a portable computer, and intend to use it on different networks, or if you have a small LAN and want to have the most choices in design and support available, using SMBs hosted over NetBT makes the most sense.

It’s your computer, and your choice. Just know what the choices are, and how they may affect you. You may select IPV4, IPV6, IPX/SPX, and NetBEUI from the Network Connection Properties wizard. You Enable SMBs hosted over NetBT from the TCP/IP Properties – Advanced wizard.

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