Broadcast Domains, Network Protocols, and Adapters

Windows maintains a separate browse list for each protocol on your network. Because computers can communicate with one another only when they share a common network protocol, this setup lets a client see in its browse list only those computers it can access. Client computers that are configured to use multiple protocols request, receive, and merge browse lists from each protocol.

IP. IP routers usually don't pass broadcast packets, so the browser architecture requires a master browser for each IP subnet. When an IP subnet is further partitioned by VPNs, broadcast packets are usually propagated only to computers that are members of the same VPN, so each VPN requires a master browser. Because IP is the only routable protocol that limits the travel of broadcast packets, the role of domain master browser as a central collection point for browse lists applies only to the IP protocol.

IPX/SPX NwLnkNb. NwLnkNb is the IPX/SPX-based NetBIOS protocol. IPX routers usually pass broadcast packets, so one master browser is sufficient for all interconnected IPX network segments. However, IPX/SPX can use one of four frame types, and computers communicate only with systems that use the same frame type. Therefore, the Computer Browser service elects a master browser for each frame type used on the IPX/SPX network.

NetBEUI. The NetBEUI protocol is nonroutable. Therefore, a master browser and browse list are necessary for each network segment hosting NetBEUI systems running Windows NT or later.

When a browser system is multihomed, it collects a list of computers for each of its adapters; each adapter's browse list contains only computers that announced themselves through that adapter. Therefore, each master browser, including the domain master browser, maintains a browse list for each network adapter/protocol combination. (If a master browser doesn't support every protocol in use on the network segment, a potential browser that supports an additional protocol calls an election for that protocol so that a master browser exists for each protocol on the network.) A multihomed master browser forwards to a domain master browser or backup browser only the list that matches the adapter and protocol through which the domain master browser or backup browser made the request. A multihomed domain master browser that receives host announcements or remote browse lists through more than one network adapter can't maintain a global browse list; remote master browsers and browser clients receive a list containing only those computers known to one of the domain master browser's network adapters. Therefore, you should set the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters subkey's MaintainServerList value to No to configure multihomed computers as nonbrowsers.

The Computer Browser service uses the NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) protocol, so disabling NetBIOS for a network adapter causes the Computer Browser service to ignore that adapter. To disable NetBIOS in Windows 2000, open the Properties dialog box for the applicable LAN connection, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) from the Components list, click Properties, then click Advanced to open the Advanced TCP/IP Settings dialog box. Go to the WINS tab, then select the Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP option. In NT 4.0, open the Control Panel Network applet and go to the Bindings tab. In the Show Bindings for drop-down list, choose all services. Expand the NetBIOS Interface, WINS Client (TCP/IP) nodes. Highlight the desired network adapter, click Disable, then click OK. When only one NIC in a multihomed computer is enabled for NetBIOS, only that NIC will bind to the Computer Browser service, record computer announcements, and generate a browse list. However, this browse list might be incomplete because the browser can't see computers that announce themselves on network segments connected to any nonĀ­NetBIOS-enabled NICs.

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