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Difference between DNS and WINS

Posted on 2007-12-01
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What's the difference between DNS and WINS? It seems redundant to have both.
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Question by:john8217
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Expert Comment

by:SLFuqua
ID: 20389569
DNS addresses are the addresses used by the "Internet". WINS addresses are an anachronism left by early MS efforts to create LAN protocols for small networks. If you have applications or network switches installed that require WINS servers then you must enter WINS server addresses in the WINS tab of TCP/IP properties. If you are not sure that you need this, then you probably don't. If it was installed before you started supporting this system, then it probably does.

Unfortunately you'll need to investigate your supported applications and network switches to see if you really need them.

Best,
sl
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by:SteveH_UK
ID: 20389600
WINS also provides good support for browsing your corporate network, something that DNS does not tend to support.  In Windows this means the "Network Neighbourhood" and so allows you to see shares, etc.  Some of this has been superseded by Active Directory but many applications, administrators and users prefer the simple approach of browsing the Network Neighbourhood.

As an administrator, despite its quirks, I still tend to install WINS on at least two servers, as the role is otherwise implemented by the Computer Browser service on individual computers and this can cause far more problems than WINS.
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by:prolixalias
ID: 20389960
In the "is it redundant" vein, and when combined with the other two I believe answers your question fully.... DNS is certainly more useful for local static addressing (servers and infrastructure devices just as an example) and outside resources. Unless you're using AD-integrated DNS, or some other DHCP/DNS pairing, you won't find DNS a good fit for "non-reserved" DHCP subnets/systems. In a windows or mixed environment, WINS is useful along with DNS.... Not redundant.
--snip--
WINS                       DNS
+ Resolves NetBIOS names   + Resolves host names to
  to IP addresses.           IP addresses
 
+ Only translates the      + Can do a reverse lookup
  NetBIOS name to the IP     (IP address to host name)
  address.
 
+ Registers client names   + Must be manually configured
  and IP addresses           with the static names and
  automatically as they      IP addresses.
  initialize.
 
+ Keeps all names in one   + Keeps names in fully qualified
  large flat name space      domain name hierarchical
  and only shares them       structures that are recognized
  with pre-configured        and registered throughout the
  replication partners.      Internet.
 
+ Used primarily for       + Used primarily on the Internet
  Microsoft clients on       and on intranets using TCP/IP
  Microsoft networks.        addressing/hosts.
 
+ Lets each client         + Admins can create different
  register their name        aliases for the same host.
  once.
 
+ Facilitates domain 
  related functions like
  browsing and logging
  on to domains.
--snip--

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by:ahoffmann
ID: 20390644
while DNS is a "internet" standard and protocol available on any platform anywhere, WINS is a proprietary protocol for some (most?) kinds of  windows systems and mainly usable in a LAN only.
If you want to use the "internet" (for example in your browser) you most likely need DNS somewhere, somehow, while WINS is totally useless for that.
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SLFuqua earned 375 total points
ID: 20390900
WINS (and NetBEUI, the WINS communication protocol) are only useful for LAN (internal network) communication. WINS addresses cannot be used outside of the LAN, WINS communications will not be transfered across a router.

DNS addresses (using TCP/IP as the protocol) are required to communicate with the Internet, i.e., get passed across a router to the public network (the Internet).

-sl
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by:SteveH_UK
ID: 20391586
The NetBEUI protocol is no longer used, in general, but the naming system still is.  WINS can keep track of multiple subnets, and the WINS packets can use the TCP transport.  It can help in multi-segment networks.
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