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My student residence just got its new wired network. It used to be wires across the balconies and going through the building windows, but now it's a professional one. I'm still managing the "local network" part of it, even if I have no power on the other parts.

The computers on this network are 80% Windows (60% Vista, 40% XP) and 20% Linux. Since it's a residential network, each computer is managed by a different person and so I have no administrative power on them. Each room is in a separate vlan and can communicate to all the other computers through a gateway. The computer configurations are done using a dhcp, which I can't alter.

Now that the context is set, my question is the following: Is there a way to get dynamic name resolution under these conditions?

I used to have a wins server, but it was working only 50% of the time since it was always losing elections to badly configured xps or vistas (the well-known bug). Furthermore, since I can't add any entries to the dhcp, a wins solution can not work.

I can't broadcast anything either. I don't mind having to perform some configuration on the computers in order for any solution to work.

Is anyone recognizing one of their situation here?

Thank you for your help.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can have name resolution across a network only in two ways: a central DNS server or local hosts files in each computer.

If you can create a DNS server and force all computers to use it (f.e. via DHCP), you're ok.

If you can edit the hosts file on each computer, you're ok.

If you can't do any of those, I'm afraid you're not ok...

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Well, with Samba (make a Unix box a windows server) you can cheat, and set a high enough value to always win wins elections.

Look into dynamic DNS?

wins is broadcast, dhcp is just responding to others requests for addresses. :-)

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