1.6 Applicability Statement

The CIFS Browser Protocol is used when automatic discovery of services offered within a network is expected, NetBIOS is available, and the network is not based exclusively on Active Directory. If all of the services offered on a network are specified within Active Directory, and all of the clients are capable of interrogating Active Directory for these services, there is no need for servers on that network to support the browser protocol. However, if all of the services available within a network are not specified in Active Directory, servers are required to support the CIFS Browser Protocol in order to discover the services that are offered in a network.

Fine-grained search criteria (that is, by location or by another attribute of a resource) are not supported by the CIFS Browser Protocol, so it is not scalable to servers that provide similar services. It is also not extensible to new service types beyond those specified herein, so the protocol is not suitable for discovering such services. Also, the browser protocol includes no security mechanism and thus is not suitable to networking environments requiring secure discovery. In addition, all of the text elements implemented in the CIFS Browser Protocol are implemented as ASCII text and thus are not suited to internationalization.

Finally, the information in the list of servers that can be returned by this protocol needs to fit in 64 kilobytes of data. This limits the number of systems that can be in a server list in a single machine group.