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What is NETBIOS – Network Basic Input Output System?

Updated on August 17, 2009


It is an interface between transport and session layer of the OSI model. The name NETBIOS refers to network extension of the facilities that have historically been provided by the Input/output system (BIOS) included in read-only memory in every IBM compatible computer.

NETBIOS effectively extend the local IO capabilities of a personal computer, operating system to a networking environment. It defines an API for requesting transport layer for communication services and protocol that describe how those services are provided

NETBIOS has become a defacto  transport layer standard for personal computers, LAN communication and NETBIOS services are provided by a wide variety of different networking software sub system

Services of NETBIOS

General or NETBIOS status

These are used to request and return status information for a particular network name and to terminate a trace that originated at a local or remote system

NETBIOS name services

Add, add group, delete and find, the naming services provide the capability to install a LAN adapter card with multiple logical names thus a remote adapter can be referred to by a logical such as xyz, abcrd etc

NETBIOS Session Services

Session services provide reliable data transfer by establishing a session between two names over which data can be transmitted. A given network user can be involved in multiple session. When a session is established, it is assigned a one octet session identifier to differentiate the different session a user might have active. Messages that are send are acknowledge by the receiving station, if an expected acknowledgement is not received the sender retransmit the message

NETBIOS Datagram services

Whereby one has sent, sent broadcast, receive and receive broadcast, datagram services allows a user to send messages without fast establishing a session. Messages can be sent to other network users by specifying individual names or group names or by broadcasting messages to all users. The datagram service does not use acknowledgement and this should be consider a reliable services


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