Role of WINS in Networking
WINS stands for Windows Internet Name Server, a program (designed by Microsoft) that runs on NT servers and provides clients with a way of finding other computers operating on windows networks. It achieves this action by resolving the computers’ NetBIOS names to IP addresses so that the windows computers in a network can find each other and communicate easily.
A distributed database is provided by WINS for registration and querying of dynamic NetBIOS names mappings to IP addresses on the network. This action eradicates use of broadcasts for purposes of resolving names hence eliminating the traffic that would otherwise be created as a result of broadcasting within the network.
WINS and DNS:
What WINS does can be related to what DNS does for domain names, so it is divided to two important parts namely the server service and the TCP/IP client element.
- The function of the server service is to manage the encoded database, service requests, conflicts and server-server replication
- The role of the client element is to manage registration as well as renewal of names in addition to taking care of queries. The names of clients on a network are kept unique by WINS and there will normally be more than one WINS server on a network, each holding records of related WINS systems.
A combination of the following processes is used by WINS clients:
Every client is configured with the IP of a server such that whenever the client starts, it will register its NetBIOS names plus its corresponding IP address. The NetBIOS name is stored in the IP mapping in the encoded database.
The client renews registration of NetBIOS names with the server, It is done temporarily so that a name can be assigned to a different host when the original host ceases to use it.
Resolution happens when the WINS client queries the WINS server to get the IP address corresponding to NetBIOS name.
When the NetBIOS name is not needed by the NetBIOS application anymore, the WINS client will normally send a message to the server requesting for a new name to be released by the server. A good example of a situation where a NetBIOS application may not need a name is when a service running on a NetBIOS is shut down.
Advantages of using WINS
- The database is always current due to the constant dynamic updating.
- The heavy traffic that would otherwise be generated by broadcasting over the network is eliminated because transmission of all client requests goes to the WINS server which in turn resolves the names to IP addresses.
- The server database is updated automatically with changes in IP addresses
- An enabled client can communicate with the server regardless of where the server is located on the network.
- Manual maintenance of each computer’s LMHOSTS files is eliminated.
- Computer browsing capacity across domains and subnets is enhanced by WINS; this helps to avail the list of computers present under “My Network Places”.