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I have a Windows 7 computer and MacOS X 10.6 computer that are connected to same LAN using a 10$ hub. On MacOS i set a computer name to "mymac.local" in "preferences->sharing". Windows computer has static IP 192.168.0.10 and Mac has 192.168.0.20 with both having netmask of 255.255.255.0 and no gateway.

Now if I issue "ping mymac.local" from my Windows computer it will sucessfully ping 192.168.0.20. But how did windows figured that IP 192.168.0.20 is associated with "mymac.local" since it's no DNS in my network? Is it some broadcast or what? And what protocol is used?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It resolves the .local names using Multicast DNS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_configuration_networking

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Yes, installing bonjour enables ping by name. It is not working without bonjour. –  Eye of Hell Mar 4 '11 at 19:07

It uses the (ancient) NETBIOS protocol and the windows implementation its name service, WINS. If a name cannot be resolved by the DNS servers the WINS server is tried or if it isn't defined a NEBIOS call is made.

Note that some routers support local DNS and add their DHCP clients to it with the name they provide, so if your router supports that actually just DNS is used.

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When you see .local as part of the name it's much more likely to be zeroconf than NETBIOS. –  sciurus Mar 6 '11 at 0:42

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