NetWare Link


NetWare Link, also known as IPX/SPX, is a proprietary networking protocol developed by Novell for their NetWare operating system. This protocol was designed to provide reliable and efficient communication between computers in a local area network (LAN) by encapsulating data in packets and sending them over various network topologies. While once widely used, NetWare Link has been largely replaced by the more universal TCP/IP protocol suite.

Key Takeaways

  1. NetWare Link (NWL) is a protocol developed by Novell, designed to enable communication between devices on a NetWare network, primarily for sharing resources such as files and printers.
  2. NWL operates at the Data Link layer of the OSI model, providing error detection and flow control to ensure reliable data transmission between network devices.
  3. The protocol is closely associated with Novell’s NetWare operating system and has been largely superseded by more modern networking technologies, such as TCP/IP and Ethernet. However, it may still be encountered in some legacy systems.


NetWare Link, a term predominantly associated with Novell’s NetWare operating system, is important because it facilitated efficient and seamless communication between computers and networking devices in a local area network (LAN). As a pioneering technology in the late 1980s and early 1990s, NetWare Link played a critical role in managing network resources, establishing server-client relationships, and providing reliable data exchange across an organization’s computing systems.

This technology helped businesses streamline their operations, improve data access, and foster collaboration among users, thus significantly contributing to the advancement of network administration and shaping the way modern computing networks function today.


NetWare Link serves a critical purpose in the realm of computer networking by facilitating seamless communication between disparate network systems. Developed by Novell, a pioneer in network operating systems, this technology protocol expertly bridges the gap between Novell’s NetWare-powered systems and other non-NetWare networks.

NetWare Link gains significance as it upholds compatibility and interoperability in a diverse networking landscape, allowing users to access and exchange resources with ease, regardless of the underlying networking infrastructure. The heightened compatibility achieved through NetWare Link has had a lasting positive impact on businesses that operate on heterogeneous networks.

By integrating various protocols, systems, and services which might not inherently communicate with one another, NetWare Link ensures that business processes are streamlined, while simplifying network administration across organizations. This technology has revamped collaboration and data-sharing capabilities, enabling improved workplace efficiency and productivity.

The adoption of NetWare Link epitomizes the shift towards integration and versatility in modern networking, as it fosters collaboration across different platforms and systems without missing a beat.

Examples of NetWare Link

NetWare Link, also known as Novell NetWare, is a network operating system (NOS) developed by Novell, Inc. It is no longer developed or supported, but was used to provide efficient and reliable directory services, file, and print services for various computing environments. Here are three real-world examples of its implementation:

Educational Institutions: Back in the 1990s, many schools and universities used Novell NetWare to manage their computer labs and infrastructure. NetWare Link allowed educational institutions to securely and efficiently share resources such as file storage and printing services across their networks with students and faculty members.

Small and Medium-Sized Businesses: NetWare Link served as a networking solution for small and medium-sized businesses, providing them with an affordable, easy-to-use platform for sharing resources such as printers, files, and email across multiple workstations. Many businesses depended on NetWare to manage their local area networks (LANs) and maintain their workflow efficiency.

Government Agencies: Novell NetWare was once a popular choice among government agencies due to its strong directory services and security features. Government agencies used NetWare Link to manage their information technology infrastructure, share resources securely, and maintain strict access controls over their networks.

NetWare Link FAQ

1. What is NetWare Link?

NetWare Link (NWL) is a communication protocol that enables Novell NetWare-based networks to connect with other networks and share resources. It allows computers running on different platforms to communicate with one another and use shared resources such as files, printers, and applications.

2. What are the main components of NetWare Link?

NetWare Link consists of two main components: the NWLink protocol stack and the NWLink IPX/SPX-compatible transport protocols. The protocol stack is responsible for managing the flow of data between computers on the network, while the transport protocols ensure reliable and efficient data transmission.

3. How does NetWare Link differ from other networking protocols?

NetWare Link is designed specifically for Novell NetWare networks. It uses the IPX/SPX protocol suite (Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange), which is different from the TCP/IP protocol suite used by many other networking systems. This makes NWLink particularly well-suited for NetWare environments.

4. Can NetWare Link work with modern networking systems and platforms?

While NetWare Link was initially developed to work primarily with Novell NetWare networks, it is possible to use NWLink with other networking systems and platforms. Many modern operating systems and platforms, such as Windows and Linux, have support for NWLink, enabling them to connect to NetWare networks and share resources.

5. Why has the use of NetWare Link declined in recent years?

The decline in NetWare Link’s popularity can be attributed to several factors. The rise of the internet and the increasing prevalence of the TCP/IP protocol suite have made IPX/SPX protocols less common. Additionally, Novell has shifted its focus towards other products and technologies, such as the Open Enterprise Server and the Novell Directory Services (NDS), which use more modern networking protocols and provide extended capabilities.

Related Technology Terms

  • Network Operating System (NOS)
  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Novell Directory Services (NDS)
  • Client-Server Architecture
  • File and Print Services

Sources for More Information

  • Novell Inc. – The company behind NetWare Link.
  • Wikipedia – NetWare – The online encyclopedia offering general information on NetWare and related technologies.
  • Google Books – Search for books on NetWare Link and related topics.
  • Network World – A website containing articles and insights about various networking technologies, including NetWare Link.

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