Main Page>Table of contents>Overview of NetBIOS-over-TCP/IP>Summary>
NetBIOS is extremely limited, but provides a lowest-common-denominator approach to multi-protocol networking. It's use of names for nodes and services makes it easy to use, and its lack of dependancy on any formal hierarchial addressing mechanisms makes it flexible. You can put NetBIOS on top of just about any protocol, from IPX to DECnet to TCP/IP, and it'll work.
However, all sorts of problems arise when you try to map a flat, non-hierarchial namespace onto a distributed, hierarchial address space. There are several options available to the user however, so it is possible to build a name table that meets just about any requirement.
You can use a text file to store static maps (LMHOSTS), or you can setup a Windows NT server to act as a WINS server, or you can rely on your DNS servers already in place. The more complex sites will likely use all of these mechanisms. That's okay!
Whatever methods you choose to employ, remember that NFS doesn't carry any of these burdens, and has much higer levels of portability and availability.