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NetBEUI ( NetBIOS Extended User Interface) is a network protocol .


NetBEUI is part of the Microsoft Protocol Stack and is located on the network layer (level 3) of the OSI layer model , from where it communicates with the NetBIOS (presentation layer ) or with the LLC ( data link layer ). Together with NetBIOS, NetBEUI forms the Microsoft protocol stack, which has usually been replaced by the IP protocol stack in today's networks .

The log header is 132 bits . It's small and fast, but not routable. Hardware addresses ( MAC addresses ) are the basis for data transport , so that there is no need for additional aids such as IP addresses ; the source and destination computers are identified only by host name . This host name is the "computer name" in Windows. For NetBEUI it cannot exceed 15 characters.


With NetBEUI, a simple and easy-to-use network protocol was available under Windows that was suitable for home users and small businesses, but not for corporations with several network segments or even a connection to the Internet. The typical network size is around 10 to 20 users. NetBEUI is not compatible with IPX / SPX or AppleTalk , which further restricts its use.

The predominant network at that time was the likewise proprietary Novell -Netware. Digital Equipment developed DEC Pathworks especially for Microsoft's "Windows for Workgroups 3.11" in order to expand compatibility with other operating systems. A major point of criticism was the excessive broadcasting share of the NetBEUI in the overall traffic within the networks, which later also contributed to a reorientation towards TCP / IP.

Significance of the protocol

The Windows network was originally based on this transport protocol, as Microsoft originally did not plan for home users to use the Internet. It was used as the standard protocol up to and including Windows Me or Windows 2000 , although SMB over TCP / IP has been supported since Windows for Workgroups (but had to be installed manually here). With Windows for Workgroups, the already integrated NetBEUI achieved its greatest distribution, as this Windows version for the first time already provided for networking between Windows computers with on-board tools.

Due to the growing importance of the Internet, however, the TCP / IP protocol became indispensable and the general standard also for smaller networks, probably also because of its system openness and flexibility. For Windows XP , the installation of NetBEUI is still offered as an option (for possible use in the LAN ), but is no longer officially supported by Microsoft. As of Windows Vista , it is no longer available (the XP version can still run) and is now considered historic.

Individual evidence

  1. Official clarification on (accessed October 22, 2013)

Web links