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What is the criteria to make a WINS server work?

I have been testing WINS for some of our products. I ran into some problems while doing so and needed some guidance in proceeding with the testing. We have a setup where there is a router to which a WINS client (WIN98) dials into and connects to access the internet. This Router is present in a LAN where the WINS Server (WIN NT 4.0 - PDC)is present.

The connection is up between the router and the WINS Client. The Client is able to reach the WINS Server and the connection properties show (using WINIPCFG) the WINS Server address in the Primary WINS Address portion of the WINIPCFG connection information. When I browse through the Network Neighborhood, I am not able to find the computers from the WINS client. But I am able to find the computers when I use the "Find Computer" Option from the WINS Client.

Upon probing the packets sent by the WINS Client, I found that in the NAME QUERY packet that is sent when Network Neighborhood is used, the WINS Client sends the GROUP NAME instead of its own COMPUTER NAME. But it sends the COMPUTER NAME in the NAME QUERY packet when the "FIND COMPUTER" option is used. Negotiations occur for all the three options, namely MESSENGER Service, WORKSTATION Service and the SERVER Service in the same order mentioned.

Is the order in which the services are negotiated and registration occurs a criteria for the working of WINS?

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Keep in mind that the entire reason you use a WINS server is to allow clients to resolve names on remote networks. The WINS clients should have a permanent, reliable connection to their WINS servers. It appears that clients must access a WINS server via a dial-up interface, which will cause many timeouts for name registration and name resolution. Place a WINS server on the local network segment, and then configure WINS servers on remote segments to replicate with one another.

This was first published in April 2002

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