Protocols - A set of rules that determine the flow of data across a network.
NetBEUI, IPX/SPX and TCP/IP all operate at the network and transport layers of the OSI model.
NetBEUI - Network Basic Input Output System Extended User Interface
NetBEUI is one of the fastest, and easiest to set up, protocols. Configuration is based upon a unique name for each computer.
NetBEUI is limited to single segment networks, i.e. Workgroups and is only supported by Microsoft operating systems and OS/2.
IPX/SPX - Internet Package Exchange / Sequenced Package Exchange
IPX/SPX is proprietary to Novell Networks though you may come across 'IPX/SPX compatible' under Microsoft operating systems. IPX operates at the network layer where it routes data packets finds the best path for data to take and picking up that data at the other end. IPX uses addresses to route data. Because IPX routes data it can be used with multi segment networks. An IPX address consists of a network number and a node number:
The network number or external address identifies the physical segment to which the computer is attached. If 2 or more fileservers are on one segment of network, then theyll both use the same external address.
The node number or internal address is usually the unique hardware address of the network card that is installed in the computer.
SPX operates at the transport layer. Its function is to confirm that there is a valid connection before data is sent across the network.
TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol.
Introduced to connect networks of dissimilar hardware, TCP/IP has become the protocol of the Internet - A global network of dissimilar computers. Working at the network layer, the Internet Protocol (IP) provides a standard set of rules and specifications for the different networks to follow if they want IP to route their data packets from one network to another. IP is designed for communication between LANs and individual computers.
The Transport Control Protocol (TCP) operates at the transport layer. It takes network information and translates it into a form that your network can understand. IP sets the rules for communication, TCP does the intrepreting.
TCP/IP is slower than NetBEUI and more complicated to set up, requiring:
A local IP address - ie 220.127.116.11
A default gateway - a portal to the next segment of network
Subnet mask - identifies the computers segment of network -ie 255.255.0.0
Address of the server assigning IP addresses - If dynamic addressing is enabled.
IP address Of the DNS (Domain Name Service) server which translates the easy to remember names into IP addresses, ie computer.company.com