A NetBIOS name refers to a specific identifier which is used by NetBIOS Services present within a computer. NetBIOS (Network Basic Input/Output System) services enable commonly used software applications to communicate with network hardware.
A NetBIOS name is created during the installation of the operating system. When the user provides the computer’s name, the set up creates the NetBIOS name along with the host name. Both are based mainly on the computer name entered by the user.
A NetBIOS name has several characteristics. A NetBIOS name is created by an administrator to identify a particular NetBIOS server that is running on a TCP/IP host. It is not dependent on the host name. This means that the NetBIOS name does not need to match the host name. In addition, computer groups that provide network-related services also register NetBIOS names.
In terms of length, a NetBIOS name can have 15 characters or less. This is in contrast to DNS host names that contain around 255 characters. In certain operating systems such as Windows Server 2003, the NetBIOS name and the host name are created together. In this case, the NetBIOS name becomes the first 15 characters of the host name if the host name contains more than 15 characters.
A NetBIOS name should be unique on its network. When the user starts the computer, several services such as those for the server and for the work station would register a unique NetBIOS name based on the computer name.
A NetBIOS name lets users perform tasks easier. It simplifies the process of referencing to TCP/IP hosts. This is primarily because NetBIOS names are easier to remember than TCP/IP addresses.