Of the 40+ desktop machines we have, about 5 are Windows 7 boxes, the rest Fedora. So we aren't running AD, and we don't want to. We do have Samba deployed (on a CentOS box), configured as a WINS server.

Wired network is one VLAN (and subnet), WiFi another. Basic networking works fine (e.g. everyone can ping everyone else). The Samba server is configured as the Master Browser for both subnets.

If a Windows 7 box (on WiFi) wants to access a Samba-served share (on the wired network), it can be done, but only if the user specifies \servername\share. The Windows 7 user can't find the server in the 'Network' part of Windows Explorer.

Worse, shared multifunction printers (on the wired network) can't be found at all. I can get printing to work by creating a TCP/IP port, and printing through that. But all of the printer's other functions (e.g. scanning) won't work. The Cannon-specific software that came with the printer can not see the printer.

I'm a Linux guy, way out of my depth. If deploying a Windows 2008 will fix this, I'll do it in a heartbeat, but I've got no idea how to configure said server (WINS? DNS? Something else?)

Any and all advice most welcome!


Having the Samba machine sit on both VLANs is a bit strange. Multi-homing SMB servers can be problematic and generally should be avoided. Even if this machine is acting as a router between your subnets I'd configure Samba to listen only on a single IP.

A WINS server ought to clear up your NetBIOS name resolution issues.

Configure your Samba server as a WINS server (using the wins support = yes global configuration directive in smb.conf) and instruct the clients to use the Samba server as their WINS server (ideally by passing out the "netbios-name-servers" option set to the IP address of the Samba server in your DHCP scopes).

You can get some good background here: http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/man/Samba-HOWTO-Collection/NetworkBrowsing.html

  • I did have Samba on only one VLAN to start, and that seemed to be worse, as it wasn't seeing NetBIOS names from the other VLAN. Everything is Win7, with no Windows Servers of any kind, any where. Could that be part of my problem? Will Win7 act as LMB? I need an LMB on each VLAN, right? – Jeff Leyser Jan 21 '11 at 15:33
  • A Windows 7 machine will act as a local master browser. – Evan Anderson Jan 21 '11 at 15:54

windows uses nbd amd smb protocols - ports 137,138,139 to locate resources into a windows network without ad. these protocols are not routable ! you need to setup a broadcast relay in order to have this sort of functionality.

if your router is linux is easy to do - if not you need to look on how your router can do this.

  • My Samba server is in both VLANs. Isn't it supposed to be able to do that? – Jeff Leyser Jan 20 '11 at 1:32
  • grep 'interfaces' /etc/smb.conf ? cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward ? – silviud Jan 20 '11 at 1:40
  • interfaces = and IP forwarding is on. – Jeff Leyser Jan 20 '11 at 1:47
  • try to increase the log log level = 10 - then winbind rpc only = yes (since there is no AD) - wins proxy = yes -- for more info try to look at samba.org/samba/docs/man/manpages-3/smb.conf.5.html -- it is also important to know what windows clients you have - because they behave different depending of version - worst case scenario you can use lmhost files onto windows clients ... – silviud Jan 20 '11 at 5:42

if you have 2 interface towards different vlans you need to use packet markings and route tables for each interface ( in addition to the main table) for a linux box to know which interface to send traffic trough.

having multiple interface on a device is a real nightmare if they are not in aggregate (port-channel /bond interfaces)

what you can do is place your server in only one subnet/vlan and just use a wins/lmhost or hosts/dns entry for the smb server. each solutions will have its sets of problem.

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