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What is IPX/SPX? What is NetBEUI?

IPX/SPX and NetBEUI are two alternatives to TCP/IP for communication across a network. However, they are proprietary and limited in their use to networks running the software on each host. They are not used on the Internet at large, only on private LANs that have instigated them.

IPX (Internetwork Packet Exchange) is a networking protocol from Novell that interconnects networks that use Novell's NetWare clients and servers. IPX is a datagram or packet protocol. IPX works at the network layer of communication protocols and is connectionless (that is, it doesn't require that a connection be set up before packets are sent to a destination as, for example, a regular voice phone call does). Packet acknowledgment is managed by another Novell protocol, the Sequenced Packet Exchange(tm) (SPX). Other related Novell NetWare protocols are: the Routing Information Protocol (RIP), the Service Advertising Protocol (SAP), and the NetWare Link Services Protocol (NLSP).

NetBEUI (NetBIOS Extended User Interface) is a new, extended version of NetBIOS, the program that lets computers communicate within a local area network. NetBEUI (pronounced net-BOO-ee) formalizes the frame format (or arrangement of information in a data transmission) that was not specified as part of NetBIOS. NetBEUI was developed by IBM for its LAN Manager product and has been adopted by Microsoft for its Windows NT, LAN Manager, and Windows for Workgroups products. Hewlett-Packard and DEC use it in comparable products. NetBEUI is the best performance choice for communication within a single LAN. Because, like NetBIOS, it does not support the routing of messages to other networks, its interface must be adapted to other protocols such as IPX or TCP/IP. A recommended method is to install both NetBEUI and TCP/IP in each computer and set the server up to use NetBEUI for communication within the LAN and TCP/IP for communication beyond the LAN.

Generally, it's a good idea to remove these protocols from a stand-alone dialup machine, or from a machine connected to a LAN only through TCP/IP. Their presence won't necessarily cause a problem, but they certainly slow things down when connecting. DUN attempts to negotiate a connection with each protocol bound to the Dial-Up Adapter. Since IPX/SPX and NetBEUI come before TCP/IP alphabetically, DUN will attempt to connect with these protocols first. Removing them as options speeds up the already painfully slow dialup connection process.


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