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IPX/SPX

IPX/SPX (which stands for Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange) is a network protocol stack developed by Novell for use on networks running the Novell NetWare network operating system. Novell NetWare is a popular network operating system (NOS) that has provided file and print server functionality to LANs since the early 1980s (we will discuss Novell NetWare in Chapter 6, “Configuring Peer-to-Peer Networks”).

IPX/SPX, like TCP/IP, is actually a stack of protocols that perform different functions in the overall network communication process. Also like TCP/IP, IPX/SPX does not map directly on a layer-per-layer basis to the OSI conceptual model. IPX/SPX actually requires fewer resources (both from a computer and a network) than TCP/IP and therefore gained a strong foothold (as did Novell NetWare) in the early decades of the PC revolution, because computers with limited capabilities (limited in terms of the amount of memory and hard drive space, if any, on the computers) running the DOS operating system could be networked. IPX/SPX is suitable for small and large networks and is a routable network protocol suite (like TCP/IP).


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