A Description of Windows 95 and Windows 98 Network Protocols


This article describes the most commonly used network protocols that are included with Windows 95 and Windows 98, and explains their use. A protocol is the language that a computer uses to communicate over a network. Computers must use the same protocol to communicate with each other. The following protocols are discussed in this article:

  • TCP/IP
  • IPX/SPX and NWLink
  • NetBEUI

More Information


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is widely used for connectivity to the Internet and as a standard routable protocol for an organization-wide Internetwork (a collection of private networks that are all connected and span an organization).

TCP/IP has become the standard protocol used for interoperability among many different types of computers. This interoperability is one of the primary advantages to TCP/IP. Because of its popularity, TCP/IP has become the standard for Internetworking.

Historically, the size and speed of TCP/IP had been its two primary disadvantages. TCP/IP is a relatively large-sized protocol stack, which can cause problems in Microsoft MS-DOS-based client computers. However, on graphical user interface (GUI)-based operating systems, such as, Windows 95 or Windows 98, the size is not an issue and the speed is about the same as Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX).

NOTE: Protocols may be routable or non-routable. Routers are intermediate devices that are used to connect different local area networks (LANs). The LANs may be in the same building or across the country. Routers use random access memory (RAM) to build a routing table based on network addresses, for example, an IP address. Routers also share the status and routing information with other routers to provide better traffic management and to bypass slow connections. Routable protocols can cross over a router to different network segments. Routable protocols shipped with Windows 95 and Windows 98 include TCP/IP and Internet Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX).

Non-routable protocols are self-explanatory. They cannot be routed to another network segment. Non-routable protocols that ship with Windows 95 and Windows 98 include NetBIOS Enhanced User Interface (NetBEUI) and Data Link Control (DLC).

IPX/SPX and NWLink

IPX/SPX is a protocol that is used in Novell networks. Similar to NetBEUI, IPX/SPX is a relatively small and fast protocol on a LAN. However, unlike NetBEUI, this protocol does support routing. Microsoft provides NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport Protocol (NWLink) as its version of IPX/SPX. NWLink is a transport protocol and it is routable.


NetBEUI is provided in all current versions of Windows. This protocol is the simplest and easiest to configure of the protocols provided. It is a very fast and efficient protocol. NetBEUI is mainly used in small peer-to-peer networks. NetBEUI is not a routable protocol.

The advantages of using NetBEUI include its small stack size (important for MS-DOS-based computers), its speed of data transfer on the network, and its compatibility with all Microsoft-based networks.

The major disadvantage of NetBEUI is that it does not support routing. It is also limited to Microsoft-based networks.

The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

Makale No: 294945 - Son İnceleme: 31 Oca 2007 - Düzeltme: 1

Geri bildirim