19.9. Samba Network Browsing

19.9. Samba Network Browsing

Network browsing enables Windows and Samba servers to appear in the Windows Network Neighborhood. Inside the Network Neighborhood, icons are represented as servers and if opened, the server's shares and printers that are available are displayed.

Network browsing capabilities require NetBIOS over TCP/IP. NetBIOS-based networking uses broadcast (UDP) messaging to accomplish browse list management. Without NetBIOS and WINS as the primary method for TCP/IP hostname resolution, other methods such as static files (/etc/hosts) or DNS, must be used.

A domain master browser collates the browse lists from local master browsers on all subnets so that browsing can occur between workgroups and subnets. Also, the domain master browser should preferably be the local master browser for its own subnet.

19.9.1. Domain Browsing

By default, a Windows server PDC for a domain is also the domain master browser for that domain. A Samba server must note be set up as a domain master server in this type of situation

For subnets that do not include the Windows server PDC, a Samba server can be implemented as a local master browser. Configuring the smb.conf for a local master browser (or no browsing at all) in a domain controller environment is the same as workgroup configuration.

19.9.2. WINS (Windows Internetworking Name Server)

Either a Samba server or a Windows NT server can function as a WINS server. When a WINS server is used with NetBIOS enabled, UDP unicasts can be routed which allows name resolution across networks. Without a WINS server, the UDP broadcast is limited to the local subnet and therefore cannot be routed to other subnets, workgroups, or domains. If WINS replication is necessary, do not use Samba as your primary WINS server, as Samba does not currently support WINS replication.

In a mixed NT/2000/2003 server and Samba environment, it is recommended that you use the Microsoft WINS capabilities. In a Samba-only environment, it is recommended that you use only one Samba server for WINS.

The following is an example of the smb.conf file in which the Samba server is serving as a WINS server:

[global] 
wins support = Yes

Tip

All servers (including Samba) should connect to a WINS server to resolve NetBIOS names. Without WINS, browsing only occurs on the local subnet. Furthermore, even if a domain-wide list is somehow obtained, hosts cannot be resolved for the client without WINS.


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