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Windows NT TCP/IP Network Administration by Robert Bruce Thompson, Craig Hunt

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Chapter 7. Using Windows Internet Name Service

The Microsoft Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) Server is a Windows NT Service that allows client computers to locate NetBIOS resources in routed TCP/IP networks. By using WINS, you can establish a centralized dynamic database that maps NetBIOS resource names to IP addresses. WINS overcomes the administrative burdens and functional limitations associated with using other methods of NetBIOS name resolution like static LMHOSTS files and IP broadcasts. WINS is to NetBIOS and Microsoft Networking what the Domain Name System (DNS) is to TCP/IP and the Internet.

Historically, Microsoft Networking meant small, peer networks running NetBIOS. The NetBIOS environment was really designed with small networks in mind. It was never intended to function in a large scale network environment, let alone in a TCP/IP internetworking environment. Microsoft, however, with its roots in small networks, was committed to supporting NetBIOS. When Microsoft decided to extend their mandate from peer networks to encompass the enterprise, they had little choice but to find a way to incorporate the NetBIOS user base into their enterprise schema. Their solution to this problem is the Windows Internet Name Service.

As is the case with DHCP, many people incorrectly believe that WINS is a purely proprietary Microsoft protocol, although this time they have somewhat more justification. WINS is in fact a proprietary Microsoft implementation of the following generic NetBIOS-over-TCP/IP ...

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