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  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Laurium, Michigan, USA
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    Greetings-
    I recently replaced our aging CRT based TV with a new Internet connected HDTV, Blue-Ray player, external TV tuner and a notebook running Win7 Windows Media Center. While I have Wi-Fi in our home, wired (CAT5+) Ethernet generally has far fewer problems. The TV room only has one CAT5 jack, and suddenly I have 4 devices. I pulled a spare 8-port Ethernet switch from my parts box and cascaded it off the switch in my home office that feeds the CAT5 jack in the TV room.

    All the devices in the TV room picked up IP addresses from my home router, they all had Internet access, and I could use Remote Desktop Protocol to control the WMC PC in the TV room from my office PC. What I could not do was see or access the shared folders on the WMC PC across my LAN. The shares worked fine when I setup the WMC PC in my office. I switched the WMC PC to a Wi-Fi link, and suddenly I could get to those shared folders.

    It was then that I realized that when I set up the WMC PC in my office, both PCs were connected to my office switch. For whatever reason, my spare switch will only pass NetBIOS packets to devices directly connected to the switch. If there is an additional hop through any other switch in the LAN, NetBIOS packets are blocked (Windows uses NetBIOS via TCP/IP to control shares within a LAN). I have no idea if this is an undocumented security feature of this switch, or just flaky programming.

    The problem was solved by purchasing another switch - actually two new switches. Small unmanaged gigabit switches are now about the same price as the equivalent 100 megabit switches were a couple years ago.

    If you are banging your head against the wall and have a wired network, try a different switch.

    By the way, the reason for the shares on the WMC PC is that it is easier to transfer digital photos from our cameras to my office PC, clean them up in a traditional Windows environment, then transfer the photos to the WMC PC for display. We purchased a 47" LCD TV with local dimming LED backlighting for an incredible contrast range. Seeing our photos on the TV is WAY superior to my office monitors or even having them printed.
    Jim Johnson
    Michigan's Lake Superior region
    How much snow do we have now?
    Visit Agate Reef

  2. #2
    Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
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    NETBIOS is not routable! It will only stay within it's particular subnet. Why are you using NETBIOS instead of TCP/IP? NETBIOS is long dead dude you should be using TCP/IP particularly on 802.3 Fast Ethernet. It was designed for TCP/IP as it's native protocol. The switch will pass NETBIOS because it operates at Layer 2, the Data Link layer but it will not work on Layer 3 devices, (Network Layer), like your router. Dump the NETBIOS dude and go TCP/IP! Problem solved!

  3. #3
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Laurium, Michigan, USA
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    Hey there Allen Morse III-

    Rereading my post I realize I skipped a step that lead to misunderstanding... I AM running TCP/IP. However, Windows has used NetBIOS for file/printer sharing starting with 16bit Windows For Workgroups. The current flavor built into Windows is NetBIOS over TCP/IP (ports 137-139) - and dude, this incarnation of NetBIOS IS routable; although most firewalls will by default, not let these packets escape the LAN.

    I wouldn't think a cheap unmanaged switch would care what ports travelled through it - but in some weird way, it sure seems like the one referrenced in this thread does. The fact that I can use RDP to reach the PC across the LAN, but can't see an unprotected shared folder on this same PC across the same copper tells me this is so.
    Jim Johnson
    Michigan's Lake Superior region
    How much snow do we have now?
    Visit Agate Reef

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