While there is documentation readily available for protocol suits such as AppleTalk, DECnet, IPX/SPX and TCP/IP, it is difficult to find documentation for the 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; this documentation attempts to provide some information on these protocols.

This document is primarily concerned with the networking protocols rather than specific implementations such as Samba, which are well documented elsewhere. Network programming (and discussion of the various APIs) is also outside the scope of this documentation.

Who should read this documentation

It is assumed that the reader is familiar with one or more networking protocols. Comparisons are made with other well-known protocols in order to better explain the roles of the various protocols described here and how they fit together.