Enabling NBNS Functions

Name resolution—converting computer names into IP addresses—is a problem that must be solved with any networking system. NetBIOS supports several methods of name resolution. One of these, the use of a NetBIOS Name Server (NBNS) system, is often associated with running a domain controller, although you don’t need a domain configuration to use NBNS. Naturally, Samba can function as an NBNS system. Doing so requires setting just a couple of Samba options; the rest is fairly automatic, from Samba’s perspective. Client configuration may be another matter, though; you must know how to tell clients to use the NBNS system.

The Role of the NBNS System

NetBIOS and Samba support several methods of name resolution, as described in Chapter 3. The simplest of these to configure is broadcast name resolution , in which computers needing to contact other computers broadcast the names, and the so-named computers respond to these broadcasts. Windows systems use broadcast name resolution by default. Broadcasts work well on small networks with just one subnet, but in a multisubnet configuration, broadcasts are typically blocked at the routers between subnets. Thus, other methods are used in such situations.

One type of solution to this problem is to use an NBNS computer. The NBNS system fills a role similar to that of a DNS server, but the NBNS system is specific to NetBIOS name resolution. It listens for name registrations from clients, caches them, and then delivers those names ...

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