NetBIOS vs FQDN server names

Why should I really think twice before using a single NetBIOS name in a path.. Using NetBIOS names is a relic from old times. Today we have the possibility of using fdqn and I believe doing anything else is a bad idea. So why fqdn when netbios is so much shorter. Well your company buys the competitor and both have a fileserver called \fileservercommon. This requires you to handle it directly if you had used fqdn you would have \fileserver.ourcompany and \fileserver.othercompany. So It gives us the possibility of merging with other companies with less problems.

There are lots of reasons why you should have fqdn everywhere where possible. I worked at a large ISP, they had different domains for different countries, with a top domain. So sometimes one company needed to access the fileservers of another country, in this case simple \country.company.local. But if they had stuck with NetBIOS they would have needed to add the other domains to their dns suffix tables and make sure they had no conflicts.  With FQDN there is no need for that. if you can resolve the DNS correctly it will most likely work. Below are a few pros and cons of FQDN vs NetBIOS names.

Fully Qualified Domain Names

  • Works easy over multiple trusted domains.
  • Matches thinking of Windows 2000 and later.
  • Works well with Kerberos SPNs.
  • Makes the endusers more aware where they are.

NetBIOS Names

  • Shorter UNCs.
  • Backward compatible.
  • Matches NT4 thinking.
  • Works with LM, NTLM, NTLM2 Authentication.
  • Not all old systems can handle FQDN paths.

So thats why I suggest and recommend that all my customers use FQDN instead of NetBIOS names.

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