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Windows95Windows98NT4 WorkstationNT4 ServerWindows 2000

IPX/SPX basics

Ethernet Network cards communicate using the MAC-addressing:
the Ethernet address programmed into the network card by the manufacturer.
You can view the Ethernet-address using the configuration program of the Network card (if it has one), like in this example for the 3C509:

If you have the
TCP/IP protocol installed, you can use "WINIPCFG" to display the MAC-address (start it via the RUN-menu):

The first 6 digits of the Hexadecimal MAC-address indicate the manufacturer (large manufactures have several ID-codes), the last 6 digits are a unique number assigned by the manufacturer for each card.

This MAC/Ethernet-address is UNIQUE world-wide !

To understand now some of the requirements on setting up and configuring the IPX/SPX network protocol, it helps to understand the history of this protocol:

It was developed by
NOVELL for for its PC-based fileserver product called "Netware". Multiple network boards can be installed in a Netware server, which is often done to improve network performance.

For EACH network-card with its attached network-cable, a
NET-number is assigned on the Netware server (in addition, each Netware server requires an internal NET-number for itself).
These NET-numbers must be UNIQUE on the complete network.

The complete Network-address of a system using IPX/SPX-protocol is now the combination of NET-number and MAC-address
(example for PC#1 on NET=2 using the 3C509 card listed above: 2.0060086DD3EE, for the PC#3 on NET=3 using the NE2000 listed above: 3.080000060560).

Since the original specification of the IPX/SPX-protocol by NOVELL, changes had to be made to the protocol, so that there are now MULTIPLE versions of the IPX/SPX-protocol, which differentiate by the
- Ethernet 802.3
- Ethernet 802.2
- Ethernet_II
(When loading the NOVELL-drivers on a DOS-system, the FRAME-type MUST be defined in the NET.CFG file).

When using IPX/SPX-protocol on a Windows95 or Windows NT4 system to connect to a NOVELL-Netware or Windows NT server, it is very easy:

When installing a Network card,
Windows95 installed a default
set of Clients and protocols, which includes the IPX/SPX
If you are ONLY connecting to
a NOVELL-Netware server,
you can delete the not
required components.
In this case, I started on my system, which is already
configured with a Modem and TCP/IP for Internet
I am now load the IPX/SPX

Lets now look at the Configuration (=Properties) of the IPX/SPX protocol :

Tab: Advanced
Item: Frame-Type:
By default, the value is: AUTO.

When connecting to a Novell Netware server or Microsoft Windows NT server, leave the Frame-Type on AUTO: your System will sense on the network the appropriate Frame-Type and will use it them automatically.

But what, when you are using IPX/SPX to communicate between Windows95 systems in a PC-to-PC network and there is NO Novell or NT server on the network ?

Since there is no server, the IPX/SPX-Frame-Type is not NOT defined on the network, so the default FRAME-Type setting of AUTO will NOT work !
So, in such cases, you MUST configure yourself the Frame-type:

Select now a Frame-Type.
I usually select the
"Ethernet 802.3".
Please, also make sure, that
on ALL systems, the
IPX/SPX Network-address
is the SAME.