Lesson 2:Network Clients

A client is a software component that enables a computer to access the resources provided by a server. Clients can take many forms, and they can either be included as part of an operating system or distributed as a separate product. In its simplest form, a client can be a stand-alone program that sends requests to and receives replies from a server. Your Web browser, for example, is a client that communicates with Web servers on your local network or the Internet. In the same way, FTP, e-mail, and newsreader programs are all clients. These clients function at the application layer of the OSI reference model and are highly specialized; they only communicate with one type of server. Application layer clients contain no lower layer protocols of their own, relying instead on protocols such as TCP, IP, and Ethernet, which are already installed on the computer, to provide network communication services.


After this lesson, you will be able to

  • Describe the client capabilities of the major operating systems
  • Identify the components of the client networking stack on a Windows system
  • Distinguish between the Microsoft and the Novell versions of clients for NetWare

Estimated lesson time: 30 minutes


The other main type of client on a workstation is the one that enables you to access shared resources on the local network, such as files and printers. This type of client is more tightly integrated with the operating system; you don't have to launch a special program and you can access files and printers through your regularapplications, just as if they were part of your local computer environment. This type of client is specific to the platform used by the server. There are clients for Windows networks, clients for NetWare, and clients for UNIX systems. In some cases, the client is supplied as part of the operating system, whereas in others you must install a separate client software package. The following sectionsexamine the different LAN client platforms.

Windows Clients

Almost all versions of Windows (including Microsoft Windows for Workgroups, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Me, and Windows NT and Windows 2000, in both Server and Workstation versions) include both client and server capabilities with the operating system. This means that you can share the files and printers on any of these Windows systems and also use the client capabilities to access shared files and printers on other computers. Note that Windows 3.1 and earlier versions ship with no network client at all.

In the case of Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, and Windows 2000, the operating system includes everything you need to connect to a Windows network, including a complete client networking stack. The stack, shown inFigure 4.4, consists of the following major components:

Figure 4.4  The Windows networking stack consists of several components that work together to provide client access to network resources

  • Clients.  What these operating systems often call a "client" is actually a component called a redirector. A redirector is a module that receives requests for file system resources from an application and determines whether therequested resource is located on a local or network drive. It's the redirector that enables you to open a network file in your word processing program as easily as you would open a local file.
  • Protocol drivers.  The Windows protocol drivers implement the protocol suites required for network communications, such as TCP/IP, IPX, or NetBIOS Enhanced User Interface (NetBEUI). In Windows terminology, the singular word protocol is used to refer to components such as TCP/IP and IPX, both of which are actually suites consisting of several different protocols. There are also other software components running on the system (for example, Ethernet) that Windows doesn't refer to as protocols, but that actually are.
  • Network interface adapter drivers.  The network interface adapter driver is a Windows device driver that provides the connection between the network interface adapter and the rest of the networking stack. The combination of the network interface adapter and its driver implement the data-link layer protocol used by the system, such as Ethernet or Token Ring. Windows supports network interface adapters that conform to the Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS). The various operating systems use different NDIS driver versions.
  • Services.  Although they are not essential to client functionality, there are services included in Windows that provide additional networking capabilities. For example, to share resources on a Windows system, you must install the File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks service.

Together with the network interface adapter, these software components provide the functions of all seven layers of the OSI model. A system can have more than one of each component installed, providing alternative paths through the networking stack for different applications. Most of the Windows operating systems include two redirectors; for example, there might be one for Windows networking and one for connecting to NetWare servers. The operating systems include multiple protocol drivers for the same purpose. NetWare connectivity traditionally requires the IPX protocol (although the latest versions of NetWare do support TCP/IP), and a Windows network can use TCP/IP or NetBEUI. Windows and NetWare systems usually share the same network medium. It's also possible to install two network interface adapters, each with its own driver, and connect the computer to two networks, one for Windows and one for NetWare, but this is not often done.

Although the drivers can take different forms, all of the Windows operating systems contain the same set of basic networking components, with the exception of Windows for Workgroups. Windows for Workgroups was developed in the early days of Microsoft networking and is rarely used today. That operating system includes a redirector for Windows networking and the NetBEUI and IPX protocols, but no NetWare client is included, nor is the TCP/IP protocol. However, you can add NetWare support by installing a client supplied by Novell, and you can add TCP/IP support by downloading and installing the TCP/IP-32 update, available from Microsoft at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/peropsys/windows/public/tcpip/WFWT32.EXE/.

The protocols at the various layers specify the path up or down through the OSI model. For example, when a packet arrives at a workstation from the network, the Ethernet frame contains a code that specifies the network layer protocol that it should use. The network layer protocol header then specifies a transport layer protocol, and the transport layer header contains a port number that identifies the application that should receive the data. For packets generated by the workstation, the process works in reverse. The redirector specifies a transport layer protocol, the transport layer specifies the network layer protocol, and the network layer specifies the data-link layer protocol.

Installing Windows Networking Components

Although technologies like Plug and Play now automate the installation of the Windows networking components in most cases, you may sometimes find yourself installing a client or a protocol manually. The process of installing a protocol module on a Windows 2000 Professional system is described next. The procedure is virtually identical in Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me. Windows NT uses a slightly different user interface, but the networking architecture usesessentially the same components.

To install a protocol module

  1. From the Start menu's Settings group, select Network And Dial-UpConnections.
  2. Right-click the Local Area Connection icon and select Properties from the shortcut menu to display the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box shown in Figure 4.5.
  3. Click Install to display the Select Network Component Type dialog box.
  4. Highlight the Protocol entry in the components list and click Add to display the Select Network Protocol dialog box. To install a different component, such as a client, make a different selection in the Select Network Component Type dialog box.
  5. Select an entry (such as NetBEUI Protocol) in the list of protocols and click OK.
  6. Click Close in the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box to complete the component installation. You might need to supply the Windows 2000installation CD-ROM so that the program can copy the required files. When the process is complete, you are prompted to restart the computer.

Figure 4.5  The Local Area Connection Properties dialog box lists all of the networking components installed on the system

The only networking component that you do not install from the Network And Dial-Up Connections dialog box is the network interface adapter driver,because this module is associated with the network interface adapter in the system. To install a network interface adapter driver manually, use the Add/Remove Hardware tool found in Control Panel.

NetWare Clients

When Microsoft first introduced its own network operating systems (Windows for Workgroups and Windows NT) in 1993, Novell NetWare ruled the local area networking industry. To successfully compete with Novell, Microsoft knew that its operating systems had to be able to access NetWare resources, but early attempts to have Novell supply a NetWare client for the Windows operating systems failed. As a result, Microsoft developed the NetWare clients for Windows, and Novell subsequently released clients of their own, which shipped with NetWare. Both have continued to update their software, and even today, you can choose between the Microsoft client for NetWare that ships with Windows or Novell's client, which you can download from their Web site.

Microsoft Clients for NetWare

The NetWare clients from Microsoft provided in the Windows operating systems fit into the same networking architecture as the client for Microsoft networking. To access NetWare resources in Windows 2000 Professional, you must installthe Client Service for NetWare (CSNW) and the NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport Protocol modules using the same procedure describedearlier in this lesson in the section entitled "Installing Windows Networking Components." In Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, the names of the modules are slightly different; you must install the Client for NetWare Networks and the IPX/SPX-compatible protocol.

The CSNW module is a second redirector that you can use along with—or instead of—the Microsoft networking client. When an application requests access to a network resource, the system determines whether the request is for a Windows or NetWare file and sends it to the appropriate redirector. The NWLink protocol module is a reverse-engineered version of Novell's IPX protocols. In most cases, Windows systems use the IPX protocols only to access NetWare servers. The NetWare redirector is connected to the NWLink protocol module, and the Microsoft redirector uses TCP/IP or NetBEUI. Both protocols' modules are then connected to the same network interface adapter driver, as shown in Figure 4.6.

Figure 4.6  Microsoft's NetWare client functions as a second redirector within the Windows networking architecture, using its own version of the IPX protocols


Using the Gateway Service for NetWare

The CSNW included with Windows 2000 Professional and Windows NT Workstation provides basic NetWare connectivity, but Windows 2000 Server and Windows NT Server include the Gateway Service for NetWare (GSNW), which expands this functionality. In addition to providing client access to NetWare servers, GSNW also enables Windows systems without an installed NetWare client to access NetWare resources. Once you'veinstalled GSNW, the service's client capabilities enable it to connect to NetWare servers. You can then configure GSNW to share those NetWare resources using the system's Microsoft networking capabilities. When a Windows client accesses the share on the Windows NT or Windows 2000 server, the server accesses the files on the NetWare server and relays them to the client.


Novell Clients for NetWare

Novell continues to maintain its own client software packages for NetWare, which you can use instead of the ones included with the Windows operating systems. The Microsoft and Novell clients both provide the same basic functionality, such as access to NetWare volumes and printers and to NDS, but Novell's clients also provide additional capabilities that are helpful to administrators and power users.

The primary difference between the Microsoft and Novell clients is that the Novell clients include the NetWare Administrator application, which is the tool that administrators use to create and maintain objects in the NDS database. This is a critical part of NetWare administration, and it's the main reason for using Novell clients instead of Microsoft clients. Apart from including NetWare Administrator, Novell clients provide additional file management functions and utilities accessible from shortcut menus and the system tray, but they also tend to be noticeably slower than Microsoft clients.

Novell maintains the following three NetWare clients for Windows:

  • Novell Client for DOS/Windows
  • Novell Client for Windows 95/Windows 98
  • Novell Client for Windows NT/Windows 2000

The Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, and Windows 2000 clients all consist of modules that fit into the existing Windows networking architecture. Each client includes its own redirector—a genuine Novell IPX protocol module, rather than Microsoft's compatible version—and network interface adapter drivers that conform to the Open Data-link Interface (ODI) standard used by Novell. However, the client can use the NDIS drivers supplied with Windows, if one is already installed.

Although Novell has not added Windows Me to the list of supported clients,they claim that the client for Windows 95 and Windows 98 fully supportsWindows Me, as well.

The client for DOS and Windows 3.1 is different, because these operating systems don't have their own networking capabilities. The client provides a complete networking architecture in itself, which can also work alongside the Windows client included in Windows for Workgroups.

Macintosh Client Capabilities

Macintosh computers can access network resources hosted by virtually any server operating system, but this is generally not due primarily to the capabilities of the Macintosh or the MacOS operating system. To support Macintosh clients, you nearly always have to install additional software modules on the client or a server. The Windows and NetWare server operating systems have had the ability to support AppleTalk protocols for a long time, either built in to the server operating system or through an add-on product. Windows requires you to install the Microsoft Services for Macintosh product on your Windows NT or Windows 2000 servers to support Macintosh clients. This product installs support for AppleTalk protocols on the server and makes it possible for Macintosh systems to store their files on Windows servers in their native file format. However, Microsoft Services for Macintosh does not permit Macintosh computers to share their own resources with Windows clients. The relationship between the Macintoshes and Windows machines is strictly client/server.

Macintosh computers can access NetWare servers in three ways. NetWare ships with support for AppleTalk protocols. When you install AppleTalk on a NetWare server, Macintosh clients can access the server using their built-in networking capabilities. You can also install the Novell Client for MacOS on a Macintosh computer, which provides it with support for the IPX protocols. This client is still available, but it is no longer being developed. A newer product, called NovellNative File Access for Macintosh, enables Macintosh computers to access NetWare drives using the AppleTalk Filing Protocol (AFP) over TCP/IP. Noadditional client is required on the Macintosh computer.

Macintosh computers can access UNIX systems using the standard TCP/IP communication tools that UNIX workstations use among themselves. Virtually all TCP/IP implementations include FTP and Telnet clients, and Macintosh systems can use these to access a UNIX computer just like another UNIX computer would.

UNIX Client Capabilities

Computers running UNIX or Linux are capable of functioning as clients of virtually any other operating system, but the process of configuring and connecting them is not as straightforward as it is with other clients. The Windows, NetWare, and Macintosh operating systems do not include native UNIX clients per se, but there are server capabilities built into all of these products that UNIX computers can access, and there are add-on products that provide more comprehensive client access.

Because all of the UNIX and Linux variants are based on the TCP/IP protocols, they all include the standard TCP/IP client programs, such as FTP and Telnet. This means that a UNIX client computer can connect to any system running the server versions of these applications. Some of the server operating systems also include other UNIX-compatible services. For example, Windows 2000 includes native support for the line printer remote (LPR) and line printer daemon (LPD) services, which enables Windows and UNIX computers to share printers with each other. However, to provide more complete client connectivity for UNIX computers, most of the server operating systems require the installation of an add-on product. Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX, for example, provides a Windows computer with NFS client and server capabilities, which makes it possible for Windows and UNIX computers to mount each other's file systems. The product also includes a Telnet client and server, Authentication Tools for NFS, a Remote Shell Service, and other UNIX-style utilities. Novell also has a product that provides NFS client and server capabilities, called NetWare NFS Services.

Exercise 1: Client Connection Troubleshooting

  1. On a network with two NetWare 5.1 servers using the IPX protocols and NDS and 10 Windows 98 workstations running both IPX and TCP/IP, one of the workstations can't access either of the servers, but the other nine workstations can. Which of the following are possible causes of the problem?
    1. The workstation experiencing the problem doesn't have a NetWare client installed.
    2. The NetWare servers have the wrong protocols installed.
    3. The user at the workstation experiencing the problem doesn't have the permissions needed to access the NetWare servers.
    4. The workstation experiencing the problem is running only IPX.
    5. None of the above.
  2. On the same network described in Question 1, one of the Windows 98 workstations can access one NetWare server, but not the other. All of the other workstations can access both servers. Which of the following are possible causes of the problem?
    1. The workstation experiencing the problem doesn't have a NetWare client installed.
    2. The one server that the workstation cannot access is running the wrong protocols.
    3. The user at the workstation experiencing the problem has failed to authenticate to NDS.
    4. The workstation experiencing the problem is running the wrong protocols.
    5. None of the above.

Lesson Review

  1. What is the protocol traditionally associated with NetWare networking?
    1. NetBEUI
    2. IPX
    3. TCP/IP
    4. Ethernet
  2. What is the Windows component that enables an application to access anetwork resource in the same way as a local one?
    1. A redirector
    2. A protocol
    3. A client
    4. A service
  3. Which of the following Windows network components is not required forclient functionality?
    1. A redirector
    2. A service
    3. A protocol
    4. A network interface adapter driver
  4. What is the most important reason for a network administrator to use a Novell client for NetWare rather than Microsoft's NetWare client?
    1. Novell's client includes a genuine version of the IPX protocols.
    2. Novell's client is faster than Microsoft's.
    3. Novell's client is less expensive than Microsoft's.
    4. Novell's client includes the NetWare Administrator application.
  5. Which of the following Windows 2000 networking modules do you not install from the Network And Dial-Up Connections dialog box?
    1. Network interface adapter drivers
    2. Clients
    3. Protocols
    4. Services
  6. Which network clients are included with Windows 2000 Professional?
    1. Client Service for NetWare
    2. Gateway Service for NetWare
    3. Client for Microsoft Networks
    4. Client Service for UNIX

Lesson Summary

  • The Windows networking stack consists of components called clients, protocols, network interface adapter drivers, and services.
  • You install most of the Windows 2000 networking components from theNetwork And Dial-Up Connections dialog box.
  • Most Windows versions include a client for NetWare networks created by Microsoft, but you can also use a client supplied by Novell.


Network+ Certification Training Kit
Self-Paced Training Kit Exam 70-642: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
ISBN: 0735651604
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2001
Pages: 105

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