Lesson 3: NetWare Protocols

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In Chapter 4, we learned that Novell's NetWare is one of the leading network architectures. In this lesson, we explore the protocols used by NetWare and how they relate to the OSI reference model.

After this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define the protocols that make up the NetWare protocol suite.
  • Relate the NetWare protocols to the OSI reference model.

Estimated lesson time: 15 minutes

Introduction to NetWare Protocols

Like TCP/IP, Novell provides a suite of protocols developed specifically for NetWare. The five main protocols used by NetWare are:

  • Media Access Protocol.
  • Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX).
  • Routing Information Protocol (RIP).
  • Service Advertising Protocol (SAP).
  • NetWare Core Protocol (NCP).

Because these protocols were defined well before the finalization of the OSI reference model, they do not exactly match OSI. Figure 6.5 provides mapping of the NetWare protocols to the OSI reference model. In actuality, no direct correlation to the layer boundaries of the two architectures exists. These protocols follow an enveloping pattern. More specifically, the upper-lever protocols (NCP, SAP, and RIP) are enveloped by IPX/SPX. A Media Access Protocol header and trailer then envelop IPX/SPX.

Figure 6.5 Comparing NetWare and OSI reference models

Media Access Protocols

Media Access Protocols define the addressing that distinguishes each node on a NetWare network. The addressing is implemented on the hardware or NIC. The most common implementations are:

  • 802.5 Token Ring.
  • 802.3 Ethernet.
  • Ethernet 2.0.

This protocol is responsible for placing the header on the packet. Each header includes the source and destination code. After the packet has been transmitted and is on the media, each network card checks the address; if their address matches the destination address on the packet, or, if the packet is a broadcast message, the NIC copies the packet and sends it up the protocol stack.

In addition to addressing, this protocol provides bit-level error checking in the form of a cyclical redundancy check (CRC). With the CRC appended to the packet, it is virtually certain that all the packets will be free of corruption.

CRC error checking uses a complex calculation to generate a number based on the data transmitted. The sending device performs the calculation before transmission and includes it in the packet that it sends to the receiving device. The receiving device repeats the same calculation after transmission. If both devices obtain the same result, it is assumed that the transmission was error-free. The procedure is known as a redundancy check because each transmission includes not only data but extra (redundant) error-checking values.

Internetwork Packet Exchange and Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX)

Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) defines the addressing schemes used on a NetWare network, and Sequenced Packet Exchange (SPX) provides security and reliability to the IPX protocol. IPX is a datagram-based, connectionless, unreliable, network-layer protocol that is equivalent to the IP. It does not require an acknowledgement for each packet sent. Any acknowledgement control or connection control must be provided by the protocols above IPX. SPX provides connection-oriented, reliable servers at the transport layer.

Using the Xerox Network System (XNS) Internet Datagram Protocol, Novell adopted IPX protocol. IPX defines two kinds of addressing:

  • Internetwork addressing The address of a segment on the network, identified by the network number assigned during installation.
  • Intranode addressing The address of a process within a node that is identified by a socket number.

IPX protocols are used only on networks with NetWare servers and are often installed along with another protocol suite such as TCP/IP. Even NetWare is moving toward using TCP/IP as a standard.

Routing Information Protocol (RIP)

Facilitating the exchange of routing information on a NetWare network, RIP, like IPX, was developed from XNS. However, in RIP, an extra field of data was added to the packet to improve the decision criteria for selecting the fastest route to a destination. The broadcast of an RIP packet allows several things to occur:

  • Workstations can locate the fastest route to a network number.
  • Routers can request routing information from other routers to update their own internal tables. (Routers are discussed in detail in Chapter 7, "Elements of Network Connectivity.")
  • Routers can respond to route requests from workstations and other routers.
  • Routers can make sure that all other routers are aware of the internetwork configuration.
  • Routers can detect a change in the internetwork configuration.

Service Advertising Protocol (SAP)

The Service Advertising Protocol (SAP) allows service-providing nodes (including file servers, printer servers, gateway servers, and application servers) to advertise their services and addresses. Clients on the network are able to obtain the internetwork address of any servers they can access. With SAP, the adding and removing of services on the network becomes dynamic. By default, a SAP server broadcasts its presence every 60 seconds. A SAP packet contains:

  • Operating Information Specifies the operation that the packet is performing.
  • Service type Specifies the type of service offered by the server.
  • Server name Specifies the name of the broadcasting server.
  • Network address Specifies the network number of the broadcasting server.
  • Node address Specifies the node number of the broadcasting server.
  • Socket address Specifies the socket number of the broadcasting server.
  • Total hops to server Specifies the number of hops to the broadcasting server.
  • Operation field Specifies the type of request.
  • Additional information One or more sets of fields can follow the operation field which contain more information about one or more servers.

NetWare Core Protocol (NCP)

The NetWare Core Protocol (NCP) defines the connection control and service request encoding that make it possible for clients and servers to interact. This is the protocol that provides transport and session services. NetWare security is also provided within this protocol.

Exercise 6.3: Comparing the OSI Model with NetWare Protocols

This exercise is designed to help you understand the relationship between the OSI reference model and NetWare protocols. NetWare was developed earlier than the OSI reference model and, therefore, does not precisely match the seven layers. In this exercise, you will be mapping the various components of NetWare protocols to the seven layers of the OSI reference model.

In the table that follows, the column on the left lists the seven layers of the OSI reference model. The blank columns on the right represent various components of the NetWare protocol. In the blank columns, map the following NetWare protocol components to the OSI reference model.

  • Media Access Protocol
  • NetWare Core Protocol
  • Routing Information Protocol
  • Service Advertising Protocol

Comparison of OSI Reference Model with NetWare Protocols

OSI LayersNetWare Protocols
Application layer 
Presentation layer 
Session layer 
Transport layer 
Network layer 
Data-link layer 
Physical layer 


Lesson Summary

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • NetWare protocols were developed before the OSI reference model and therefore do not match the OSI reference model.
  • The five protocols used with NetWare are Media Access Protocol, Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX), Routing Information Protocol (RIP), Service Advertising Protocol (SAP), and NetWare Core Protocol (NCP).
  • The Media Access Protocol defines the addressing on each node of a NetWare network. It is responsible for placing the header with both the destination and source addresses on the packet.
  • IPX defines the addressing schemes used on a NetWare network.
  • SPX provides connection-oriented, reliable servers at the transport layer.
  • SAP allows file servers, printer servers, gateways, and applications to broadcast or advertise their services to the network.
  • NetWare security is provided in the NetWare Core Protocol.

MCSE Training Kit Networking Essentials Plus 1999
MCSE Training Kit: Networking Essentials Plus, Third Edition (IT Professional)
ISBN: 157231902X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 106

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