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I have a problem that NetBIOS name of my Ubuntu laptop connected through WiFi cannot be resolved from other machines. Using a packet sniffer and nmblookup I figured out that the wlan interface doesn't receive the UDP broadcast packets sent by nmblookup from another machine. This is likely due to the configuration of the wireless router and I don't have control over it.

How can I configure samba to workaround this issue?

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2 Answers 2

Since native NetBIOS broadcasts are out, your options are either to use WINS, or rely on AD/DNS. WINS is dead and gone in most networks today... so I wouldn't rely on that. Your options may be even further limited to a lack of AD support in Samba3. Sadly, Samba4 hasn't even reached the "beta" status yet.

Straight from the samba wiki:

Use of raw SMB over TCP/IP (No NetBIOS layer) can be done only with Active Directory domains. Samba is not an Active Directory domain controller: ergo, it is not possible to run Samba as a domain controller and at the same time not use NetBIOS. Where Samba is used as an Active Directory domain member server (DMS) it is possible to configure Samba to not use NetBIOS over TCP/IP. A Samba DMS can integrate fully into an Active Directory domain, however, if NetBIOS over TCP/IP is disabled, it is necessary to manually create appropriate DNS entries for the Samba DMS because they will not be automatically generated either by Samba, or by the ADS environment.

In short, in a modern AD environment, DNS is more commonly used for workstation name lookups... samba can use DNS for lookups, but does not have any way to register itself properly with Microsoft DNS servers. (samba4 has some work-arounds that do a better job... but samba4 can also do AD). You can manually add a DNS record on the DNS server directly, but if your IP should change... you would have to manually update the DNS records.

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The network in question doesn't have AD. Is it possible to have a WINS solution to my problem maybe involving some sort of WINS samba server on the network? –  vitaut Feb 10 '12 at 20:39
Yes, Samba3 is quite capable of being a WINS server... but as I mentioned, WINS is a dead technology... and I would advise against trying to put it into production. You would have to configure the workstations to use WINS domain-wide... which is probably more work than it's worth. For less time/headaches... DNS can be configured/deployed... and is the standard in most environments. –  TheCompWiz Feb 10 '12 at 21:17

I think you have two options.
The clients use an IP Address to connect to the SAMBA server.
Use some other form of name resolution, like a DNS server or hosts files.

Of course, both of these require changes at the client, not the server.

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