NetBIOS

The native networking protocol in DOS and Windows networks. Although originally combined with its transport layer protocol (NetBEUI), NetBIOS today provides a programming interface for applications at the session layer (layer 5). NetBIOS can ride over NetBEUI, its native transport, which is not routable, or over TCP/IP and IPX/SPX, which are routable protocols. NetBIOS computers are identified by a unique 15-character name, and Windows machines (NetBIOS machines) periodically broadcast their names over the network so that Network Neighborhood can catalog them. For TCP/IP networks, NetBIOS names are turned into IP addresses via manual configuration in an LMHOSTS file or a WINS server. There are two NetBIOS modes. The Datagram mode is the fastest mode, but does not guarantee delivery. It uses a self-contained packet with send and receive name, usually limited to 512 bytes. If the recipient device is not listening for messages, the datagram is lost. The Session mode establishes a connection until broken. It guarantees delivery of messages up to 64KB long.