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Network+ TechNote: NETBEUI and NetBIOS

NETBios Extended User Interface is a non-routable Transport layer protocol created by Microsoft. Novell and Microsoft wanted to use the Session layer part of the Netbios protocol with other transport protocols such as TCP and SPX and decided to split up NetBios in NetBEUI and NETBIOS.

The reason it is non-routable is in its flat addressing scheme, NETBEUI uses Netbios names to identify computers on the network, that do not contain a network portion. Netbios names are sometimes referred to as friendly names. NetBIOS names are 16 characters in length and cannot contain any of the the following characters: \ / : * ? " < > |, but most version of Windows don't allow many other characters, such as @ {} and others as well.
The first 15 characters represents a unique name identifying a resource, the 16th character (if you would set a name of 8 character it is padded with spaces up to 15 characters long to allow a '16th' character) is a suffix identifying the type of resource or group of resources, for example the redirector, server, or messenger services can be installed on one computer resulting in three times the same name but with different suffixes.

NETBEUI is a broadcast protocol, meaning a computer running NETBEUI discovers the MAC address from the intended communication partner by sending out a broadcast with the NETBIOS name. The main advantage of NETBEUI is that it is small in size and easy-configurable.

Current related exam objectives for the Network+ exam:

2.3 Differentiate between the following network protocols in terms of routing, addressing schemes, interoperability and naming conventions:


Click here for the complete list of exam objectives.

Discuss this TechNote here Author: Johan Hiemstra


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