We are a development shop where all 50-odd workstation computers run Windows 7 SP1 and most of our 20-30 servers are Server 2008 R2 or Server 2008 (there are a few scragglers still on Server 2003). We have a flat, single subnet environment where servers and workstations are in the same network. We have DNS servers with dynamic DNS registration enabled and currently we have WINS servers too. In performing some diagnostic Wireshark packet capturing on our network for an different issue, we've seen that there is quite a lot of NetBIOS broadcast noise on our network.
We are looking to disable NetBIOS broadcast by changing the node type of our workstations (and possibly servers) to p-node (or peer only) where WINS will be used as the only name resolution method. We will most likely configure it via the 043 DHCP option to ensure that even non-domain joined clients participate on our network without broadcast. We considered using the Group Policy approach to roll-out the registry key, but this may have detrimental effects on our laptop users when offsite (such as on their home networks).
Here are my questions:
- will this cause issue with any of the few Windows Server 2003 servers we have left, or for any of our Windows 7 clients or other newer Windows servers?
- Further to that, is it even advisable to prevent NetBIOS broadcast or should the noise just be ignored as a typical part of the network?
- We've also considered disabling NetBIOS completely. However, the only way I know of doing so is to disable NetBIOS of TCP/IP. I assume this is the only NetBIOS method left in Windows 7? So disabling this on the NIC (or for the whole PC) disables NetBIOS completely?
- Will disabling NetBIOS mean that the FQDN/long name (eg, companyname.tld) of the domain need to be used for logon purposes due to the short-name (eg, COMPANYNAME) no longer being available? (ie, email@example.com has to be used instead of COMPANYNAME\username) If this is the case, will Windows still show
Logon to: COMPANYNAMEor will it show
Logon to: companyname.tld.
In summary, we're after some guidance on what is common practice for organisations to do with NetBIOS communications these days and the experiences of others when making changes to NetBIOS network configuration similar to my topology.
I've found the below topic which links to a few others, but I'm still not convinced. I'd like to know the steps people took to 'disabling' or limiting NetBIOS and any shortcomings or advantages of doing so.
As per questions; running Active Directory, functionality level 2008, prepped for 2008 R2, soon to be R2 functionality.
And I received a decent "why" question, to which I said:
I'm of the opinion that if it isn't needed, it shouldn't be on. Plus, there is a lot of noise on the network from broadcast resolutions - sure these packets are tiny, but I just was after some clarity on what others (perhaps in bigger organisations) have done regarding NetBIOS.