WINS and Network Neighborhood not playing together?

By stobek ·
I'm having problems with computers not showing up in the Network Neighborhood for off-site locations.

We have three locations. Location 1 is the main branch, while there is also Location 2 and Location 3 (L1, L2, L3). We have a DNS/WINS server at L1 (primary) and L2 (secondary). We can see all the computers in the Network Neighborhood from L1 but none from L2 or L3.

If you go into WINS configuration on either server, it lists the computers in L2 and L3 in addition to the ones in L1

More info:
L1 IP address range is 192.168.200.XXX
L2 IP address range is 192.168.201.XXX
L3 range is 192.168.202.XXX

You can connect via remote desktop to any computer.
You can search for any computer at L2 or L3 and find it
All computers are joined to the same domain

The server at L2 (secondary) looks to the primary server at L1 for WINS/DNS information under the TCP/IP settings. It also has NetBIOS enabled through TCP/IP.

Any ideas why only PCs in L1 are showing up and none from L2 or L3?

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Because Microsoft Networking (SMB) is a broadcast-based protocol

by robo_dev In reply to WINS and Network Neighbor ...

So typically browsing across multiple subnets does not work, because different subnets are different broadcast domains.

Is this a domain or a workgroup ( or multiple workgroups)??

Is there a static route between networks for the workstations on the other networks?

Note that Windows firewall will sometimes block traffic you don't want it to block.

In order to browse across subnets, you need to have have WINS running and the
clients must be able to get to the WINS server, obviously.

Clients use broadcast messages to resolve NetBIOS names to IP addresses on the local subnet.

It's important to note that there is an order to the WINS and DNS resolution, between the PC HOSTS and LMHOSTS file, the resolution from the DNS/WINS server, and what it gets from broadcasts on it's own. This is typically the root cause of many problems.

Broadcasts do not propagate across subnets, otherwise you would have IP broadcast storms.
This is why NetBIOS names work on the local subnets, but not when trying
query for names located on other subnets. WINS solves this by keeping track
of all the NetBIOS names and IP's on all subnets. Clients and servers must
be configured to use WINS in order for this to work.

Active Directory uses DNS exclusively to find names and does not require WINS.

Browsing across subnets is complicated:

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