Network Basic Input Output System


The Network Basic Input/Output System (NetBIOS) is a software protocol that allows computers and devices within a local area network (LAN) to communicate and share resources. It was originally developed in the 1980s by IBM for use in PC networks but has since been adapted to function across various operating systems and network devices. NetBIOS establishes a means for devices to find and identify each other, facilitating data transfer and communication among them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS) is an application programming interface (API) that allows communication between applications and devices within a Local Area Network (LAN).
  2. NetBIOS provides essential functions for file and printer sharing, as well as network communication on Windows operating systems, and supports non-routing protocols like IPX/SPX and NetBEUI.
  3. Although NetBIOS is considered an older technology, it is still used on modern networks for maintaining compatibility and providing simple networking solutions within smaller environments.


The Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS) is an important technology term as it serves as a critical element in establishing communication between different devices on a local area network (LAN). Operating at the session layer of the OSI model, NetBIOS enables computers to easily locate and identify each other using human-readable names, thus simplifying the data exchange process in various applications and services.

Its significance lies in providing a standardized method for managing data transmission between systems in a network, which ultimately contributes to the seamless operation and smoother functioning of our increasingly interconnected digital world.


The Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS) serves a critical purpose in the realm of computer networking. Its primary function is to establish communication between devices operating within a local area network (LAN), thus enabling resource sharing, such as exchanging messages and accessing files or services among these devices.

NetBIOS acts as an intermediary, bridging the gap between the application layer and the lower networking layers, allowing software applications to easily communicate with one another. Developers benefit from the simplicity of this system, as they do not need to have an in-depth understanding of communication protocol details to establish connections between different devices.

Within the broader networking context, NetBIOS is invaluable for creating seamless interactions among various devices on a LAN. By assigning unique names to devices during communications, NetBIOS enables name resolution, a process that simplifies the translation between a device’s human-readable name and its associated network address.

Additionally, it promotes session management, ensuring reliable data exchange and regulating communication between devices, further facilitating smoother transmission of data packets. Overall, NetBIOS enhances the efficiency and reliability of local area networks, making it an essential component in the world of computer networking.

Examples of Network Basic Input Output System

Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS) is a software protocol that enables communication between computers within a local area network (LAN). It is used by different systems and devices to perform various tasks such as file sharing, printing, and other resource sharing. Here are three real-world examples of NetBIOS usage:

File Sharing: In an office setting, employees often need to share files with their co-workers for collaboration purposes or to store data on a central server. NetBIOS enables users to access file shares on a server and transfer files within the network. For example, when using the Windows operating system, file sharing can be accomplished through Shared Folders, which relies on NetBIOS for communication between the devices within the network.

Printer Sharing: NetBIOS also plays an essential role in printer sharing within a local network. In a typical office environment, a shared printer is often set up to avoid the need for every employee to have a separate printer at their desk. NetBIOS enables printer sharing by maintaining communication between workstations and the shared printer on the network. As a result, multiple users can send their print jobs to a shared printer without any compatibility issues.

Network Browsing: NetBIOS aids in network browsing, which is the process of discovering and enumerating network resources and devices within a local network. The Windows operating system, for example, has a built-in feature called Network Neighborhood (later renamed as Network in more recent versions of Windows) that allows users to view all the accessible devices and shared resources in the network. This network browsing feature relies on NetBIOS to gather information about devices and resources available within the same local network.

Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS) FAQ

What is Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS)?

Network Basic Input Output System, or NetBIOS, is an API used to enable communication between different devices on a local area network (LAN). It was originally developed for IBM’s first networking system, the PC Network, but later became widely used in various networking systems.

What are the main functions of NetBIOS?

NetBIOS facilitates functions such as session establishment and termination, connection-oriented and connectionless data transfer, and virtual terminal sessions.

What is NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT)?

NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT) is a method of extending the NetBIOS communication protocol to modern TCP/IP networks. This allows programs designed for LANs to operate on the larger Internet or any network using TCP/IP.

What are NetBIOS service types?

There are three NetBIOS service types: Name Service (port 137), Datagram Service (port 138), and Session Service (port 139). The Name Service is responsible for managing NetBIOS names, the Datagram Service is used for sending data without an established session, and the Session Service enables connection-oriented communication between devices.

How do I disable NetBIOS?

To disable NetBIOS, you’ll need to access the properties of your network connection, find the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties, click “Advanced,” and then select the “WINS” tab. From there, you can choose “Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.”

Related Technology Terms

  • BIOS Boot Process
  • Boot ROM
  • Preboot Execution Environment (PXE)
  • Network Interface Card (NIC)
  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)

Sources for More Information


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