Prior to the latest versions of CIFS, SMB uses network names which are strings of 16 bytes. In general these names are mapped directly on to NetBIOS names (see the section called Addressing - NetBIOS names in the chapter called NetBIOS, NetBEUI, NetBIOS Frames Protocol above). The traditional SMB names of systems can be up to 15 characters long and are padded with blanks if necessary. The 16th byte is used to indicate whether the name refers to a server or another function.

In Microsoft networks with NT 3.x and NT 4.0 systems some names are used with NT 3.x and NT 4.0 Domains as well as for computer names. Some examples of names and use of the 16th byte are given below:

Table 2. SMB Names

SMB Name Purpose
Computername[0x00] Workstation service
Computername[0x20] Server service
Domainname[0x00] Register computer in domain
Domainname[0x1C] Domain controller

Unique NetBIOS names will map to SMB individual system names, and NetBIOS group names will map to workgroup or domain names.

Like NetBIOS names, traditional SMB names are non hierarchical and constitute a flat non-routable name space which does not scale well.