A+ Certification / Beginners


Protocols are languages that are used to hold a conversation on the network. Your system can have a network card installed and have the proper client running, but if it isn't speaking the same language (protocol) as the remote system, then the two systems can't hold a conversation. To go back to the tailor shop example, you are now ready to service your clients. There is only one problem: When your first client walks into your store and requests service, your client speaks French, while you speak only English. To solve this problem, you and your client must speak a common language. It doesn't matter what that language is, as long as you both can speak it.

There are a few things to look for when choosing which protocol to install, but the bottom line is that all computers on the network must have the same protocol installed - a common denominator to allow all individuals to participate in a conversation. In the following sections, you can examine a few different protocols that you might encounter when working with networks.


NetBIOS Extended User Interface (NetBEUI) was originally developed by IBM to be used on small networks - less than 10 computers. Microsoft implemented NetBEUI in the different Windows operating systems for the same purpose - small networks. NetBEUI is intended for small networks because it is a nonroutable protocol, meaning that it cannot leave the network. Since many companies have large networks spanning some form of WAN (Wide Area Network) link and containing routers to connect different networks, this protocol is impractical in those environments - and for environments that want to connect to the Internet. In today's networking environments it is unlikely to see NetBEUI on any major network.

In the past, you would use NetBEUI if you had a small number of computers that needed to be networked in a workgroup-type environment. You wanted to get this network up and running without the hassle of having to configure all kinds of settings. This is the benefit of NetBEUI: There is no configuration - it just works!

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