NetBIOS, NetBEUI, NBF, SMB, CIFS networking links page

There is a suite or family of protocols which includes the NetBIOS Frames Protocol, NBF, (often referred to as NetBEUI or sometimes as NetBIOS), the Server Message Block protocol, SMB, and Common Internet File System, CIFS. These protocols are associated with the original NetBIOS implementation with which they have a historical link.

Many systems have used SMB in the past including Microsoft's Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95 / 98, LAN Manager and Windows NT and IBM's OS/2 and LAN Server and many systems use SMB / CIFS today including versions of Windows and the SAMBA implementation.

While there has been documentation readily available for protocol suits such as AppleTalk, DECnet, IPX/SPX and TCP/IP, it is difficult to find documentation for SMB / CIFS and the other protocols in the suite; this page provides links to some documentation available on the Web.

A general document is available:
NetBios, NetBEUI, NBF, SMB, CIFS Networking.


There is no formal standard which defines the protocol(s) used with NetBIOS; in practice the IBM LAN Technical Reference IEEE 802.2 and NetBIOS Application Program Interfaces is used as a reference.

Title: LAN Technical Reference: 802.2 and NetBIOS APIs
Document Number: SC30-3587-01
Build Date: 04/30/96 15:30:53 Build Version: 1.3.0
Book Path: /home/publib/epubs/book/

NetBIOS on a TCP/UDP transport

NetBIOS can be carried over TCP/IP networks. The relevant RFCs describing NetBIOS on a TCP and UDP foundation are:

RFC 1001
Protocol standard for a NetBIOS service on a TCP/UDP transport: concepts and methods
RFC 1002
Protocol standard for a NetBIOS service on a TCP/UDP transport: detailed specifications

There are several implementations of NetBIOS on a TCP/UDP transport. A free implementation is "SAMBA" which is available for various Unix platforms and non-Unix platforms. Further information about "SAMBA" can be obtained from the "SAMBA" Web page:

Server Message Block protocol (SMB)

SMB is an application level protocol which runs over NBF (NetBEUI / NetBIOS) or NetBIOS over TCP/IP or NetBIOS over IPX/SPX. Further information can be found at the following locations:

Common Internet File System (CIFS)

A new version of SMB was developed called CIFS. Further information can be found at:

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