Microsoft Windows Protocol Layering

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Microsoft Windows Protocol Layering
I cannot decide what to call the Microsoft Windows network protocol suite. It evolved from an earlier
Microsoft product called LAN Manager.
Network Interface
Like the other network protocols, the Microsoft Windows protocols can be based on a variety of
network interface types. Interestingly, though, it often does this by having its datagrams placed inside
the datagrams from another network protocol suite such as IPX or IP. This techniques is referred to
variously as piggybacking or tunneling depending on the situation.
NetBEUI
The lowest level software in the Microsoft Windows protocol suite is NetBEUI. It fills the same role as
IP and IPX, but is not "routable." That is, there is no provision for sending NetBEUI datagrams trough
routers to create an internetwork of NetBEUI-based networks. NetBEUI is really just a thin layer to hide
the details of the network interface layer from NetBIOS. It is sometimes called NBF, the NetBIOS
Frame format.
NetBIOS
NetBIOS is the name of the middle layer in the Microsoft Windows protocol suite. Typically, current
systems using NetBIOS piggyback the datagrams from this layer on top of IPX (via a software product
called "NWLink NetBIOS") or IP. The software for layering NetBIOS over IP is called by different
names. The user interface seems to refer to it as the "WINS Client," technical folks tend to refer to it as
"NBT" (for "NetBIOS over TCP/IP"), and the Windows NT documentation refers to it as NetBT. All of
these names refer to the use of RFC1001 and RFC1002 which leads yet others to refer to this practice as
RFCNB.
SMB
SMB, the Server Message Block protocol is used by the Microsoft Windows as a transport layer
protocol. Like NetBIOS, SMB can be layered over either NetBIOS or IPX to promote maximum
marketability. The best reference for SMB
is found in the SAMBA
documentation. At the Ball State
Computer Science Department we use SAMBA to supply SMB services on our Sun Solaris (Unix)
timesharing machine. This allows our Microsoft Windows PCs to avail themselves of the services of the
Sun for file-sharing and print-sharing in a very simple way without buying any software for the many
PCs.
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Microsoft Windows Protocol Layering
10/31/2004
http://www.cs.bsu.edu/homepages/peb/cs637/layering/Microsoft.htm
©
Paul Buis, Associate Professor

Computer Science Department

Ball State University

September, 1996

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Microsoft Windows Protocol Layering
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http://www.cs.bsu.edu/homepages/peb/cs637/layering/Microsoft.htm