OK, so NetBIOS is "going away"..... What does that really mean? I ask this in the context of the Network display in Windows 10 Windows Explorer.
Lately, the Network display list has been getting flaky. It's time to illuminate why that is and what to expect in the near future. Actually, what to expect today.
Now, I am well-experienced with peer-to-peer networks - so that's my focus here.
Regarding the Network list of computers:
I know well the context of NetBIOS and the Master Browser and the historical list of computers in the Network display.
What I don't know is what comes next?
What I don't know is what to expect in the near term with networks of Windows 10 computers.
What I do know is that there has been "flakiness" of the list that's displayed.
What I do know is that lists have changed from 100% NetBIOS to mixed NetBIOS and WSD and now to 100% WSD as the Discovery Method.
And, in the process, the Network list of computers has become flaky.
Some lists are short.
Not all lists, from computer to computer, are the same.
Some lists are long and have but one computer missing (seems like always the same one!).
I have been told numerous times by Experts that NetBIOS "is going away" by 2020. I'm not sure what ALL that means.
Windows 10 continues to display a "NETWORK" list in Windows Explorer doesn't it?
If you elect to show "Discovery Method" as a column in the Network list display, then you will see either NetBIOS or WSD for each computer listed.
(You don't see anything for computers that aren't listed. :-)
Lately, I'm seeing lists of all Windows 10 Pro machines with 100% WSD as the Discovery Method.
Yesterday I saw a list with more NetBIOS than WSD by far (about 10 computers in a peer-to-peer network) and there are interaction troubles in that network.
Something is clearly going on but I've not read anything to really explain it. Perhaps there are some good references?
"If NetBIOS is going away then is that simply a protocol change in favor of WSD?"
"If NetBIOS is going away and WSD is taking its place (in some sense) then does that mean that the Network list of computers is ALSO going away? Or not?"
Some clarity would really help.
There is a counter-argument:
"You don't really need the Network list"
I say: "BS" because there has always been no better, simple, way to know if the network is "whole".
Sure, I can use NetScanner or some such tool but then I'm an IT guy. What about a more "normal user"?
BTW, the "you don't need the list" argument is colored by the notion that "not all computers are sharing files NOR SHOULD THEY BE". So why does one need to see them on a list?
It occurs to me that this could well be true - but it isn't a complete picture.
Once more: some clarity would really help.
I am left with a vague allusion to the idea that the list is just going away. But the explanations aren't well articulated or justified. In the mean time, there are lots of users who rely on the list for various reasons that really should not be challenged as "old fashioned" should they? If it's useful then it's legit to ask about it.
What is going on with the network browser list? Microsoft hasn't officially said, but there are clear tea leaves to be read. It is effectively dead and could be officially deprecated at any time. Don't rely on it.
What comes next? Managed identity is the core of windows. And with managed identity comes managed resources. Windows 10 has built in support for AD, Azure AD, and "Microsoft Accounts" for consumer purposes. That's what's next.
The network list was *NEVER* about seeing the network "as a whole." It was about accessing *RESOURCES* on the network. Even when WfW 3.11 was the only game in town (pre-domain days), Microsoft had guidance on turning on and off the master browser components to improve network performance. IF you used it as a "complete" view of the network, you were always using it wrong.
Nope, It isn't. And the browser list *NEVER WAS* a complete picture. It was a throwback to Microsoft's (successful) attempt to usurp Novell's dominance in the small/mid business space. It served a migratory purpose but Novell Netware is gone, and windows has evolved much better technologies for accessing resources.
As for the vague allusions, nothing too vague about it. The network list was built on old technology: NetBIOS and SMB1. SMB1 is also, undeniably, going away and *HAS* been officially deprecated. And you can find as much in official Microsoft documents about disabling SMB1, where it says it is needed for legacy apps that still "require" browsing "network neighborhood." Yes, they are treating it as legacy.
WSD will be around for the foreseeable future, but in that regard, WSD is a more robust protocol and is about advertising services, not just a random device name. Non-computer entities use WSD too. Most network printer discovery...WSD. Network scanners, WSD. Non-computer media servers...WSD.
But the idea there is that there will be applications that can speak WSD and will handle resource discovery for you. Fire up windows settings and hit "add a network printer" and WSD goes out and finds printers. You don't get media devices. Just printers.
Fire up a scanner app and it can query via WSD and find just scanners.
Fire up a music app and it can find media devices, or speakers, or whatever.
There isn't a monolithic "network" list in such a scenario. Nor would such a list be useful when it'd be a jumble of devices that the Windows Explorer app doesn't know how to deal with...since few if any will speak SMB1 in the near future. And *files* is all Explorer is focused on.
To use an analogy, if you live in a small town where all businesses were built in Main St, you can just drive down Main St until you find the business you need. Chances are the town has one hardware store. One small café. Maybe a bank. That's your network list.
Now move to Seattle. You can't possibly find every café in seattle by driving around. Or even browsing the white pages. Too much noise. It is so inefficient that you simply wouldn't do so. You use the yellow pages (or the digital equivalent with a smartphone.)
Yes, the white pages still exists for finding individuals. And IP scanners still exist for crawling a network to find devices. But those are edge cases. There are better indexes that are more focused on getting people what they need (I need a hardware store...I need a network printer)...and the network list simply does not, and cannot, keep up with the modern network and the Internet of Things phenomenon.
Clear things up?