I have a small (5 computers) peer-to-peer network with windows XP and windows 7 computers. No Windows servers, no domain. Everything is connected to a cheap D-link wireless router that is connected to the Internet.

Problem is some computers eventually stop "seeing" other computers on the network and are unable to connect to remote printers and shares. Every computer has the same "workgroup name". Problem computers are usually notebooks connected wirelessly. using \computername to connect does not work either.

I imagine it is a name resolution problem, since there is no internal DNS for my p2p network.

Does it make sense this being a (lack of) DNS problem? Do I need a DNS or just some other configuration or service, like, defining a "master browser" or WINS server ? How do I do that ? If I configure a DNS server for this network, will it improve ? What DNS server would you recommend for Windows 7 that supports DHCP address distribution ? ?

Thank you,


  • Are you opposed to adding a small computer to handle DNS and DHCP?
    – Stese
    Mar 7, 2019 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


Windows computers habitually find one another on directly-connected LANs by sending NetBIOS broadcasts; you don't need DNS for this to function.

However, any half-decent wireless router will either put the wireless network behind another subnet (hence stopping broadcasts) or disable propagation of "unsafe" traffic - in this case, Windows NetBIOS/NMB/SMB calls.

I would inspect the network security settings of the wireless device and see if you can somehow tell it to allow Windows networking/sharing across the wired and wireless networks.

Failing that, yes, promoting one of the Windows machines to a master WINS server would also do the trick, as long as you then configure it on all machines.

Note that Windows desktop OSes cannot act as a WINS server - only the server OSes can.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.