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Part: V Appendices > Windows Internet Naming Service

Windows Internet Naming Service

As you just learned, DHCP makes assigning IP addresses to each computer an easy chore. It is all done automatically, and there is not much that the network administrator needs to do once the computer is set up. However, when DHCP was first developed, a small problem occurred. DHCP can give your computer an IP address, but how do other computers determine what that IP address is when they need to communicate with your computer?

Before dynamic DNS was developed, Microsoft developed its own name service called the Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS), which essentially acts as a dynamic DNS. When a client computer has been configured with the address of one or more WINS servers and the client then boots up, it sends a message to the WINS server to issue its name and address. Actually, it does get a little more complicated than that, since WINS also allows for the registration of multiple names for a computer. This is because up until Windows 2000, NetBIOS was the primary method that Windows operating systems used to find resources on a network. NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NETBT) allowed the nonroutable NetBIOS naming scheme to be adapted to the routable TCP/IP suite. By using WINS servers, NetBIOS names could be used not only in a single LAN, but also on many networks connected by routers, as long as WINS was available to allow a translation between the NetBIOS name and an IP address.


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