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Domain computers visible across multiple subnets

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  • Domain computers visible across multiple subnets

    I apologize if the following is redundant or too basic but I am trying to get an explanation that makes sense to me so here goes.
    We have a single master domain with over 100 subnets across 4 time zones. All domain controllers are centralized on one subnet and all user computers are at remote offices (nodes) where we cannot have member servers or additional domain controllers. We are primarily running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 with only 4 computers remaining with XP. Normally, in the past, if I wanted to setup an ODBC connection to a SQL server located on the same subnet as the domain controllers no matter what subnet I was on I would not have a problem. I would be able to see in the list of servers all the SQL servers. This may not be relevant to the last statement but I want to make sure all of you have the complete picture.
    Also in the past I would be able to go to the network option on any windows 7 computer and see all the servers and several hundred workstations. Now, I only see the computers on the same subnet as the one I am troubleshooting. If I go to a domain controller, I do not have this problem. If I go to a workstation, no matter what subnet, I cannot see anything but my immediate workstations on the same subnet.
    I have researched this for some time. I find many different answers. One answer: I need to install WINS. Another answer: I don't need WINS. The network engineer says it is not a UDP issue.
    I cannot seem to find a logical answer that I understand and can implement. Any ideas or expertise would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    IMHO you need WINS for this to work correctly.

    NetBIOS which gives you the name browsing on a local subnet is not able to traverse a router as such you need to have a WINS server installed to view other devices using NetBIOS names on other subnets.

    Using the FQDN however will get away from this.


    • #3
      I agree with wullieb1. I don't know how or why this was working before but you need WINS to make it work reliably.


      • #4
        Thank you for your prompt replies. I have WINS running on the DHCP server 2008 (not R2) but due to the problem, I have added WINS to the DC that acts as the PDC. How does this affect the ability to see the SQL servers when trying to create system or user DSN's. Is this common behavior due to the domain model and do you thing upgrading to 2012 would allow me to finally eliminate WINS and this problem? Lastly, are there other negative behaviors that show up due to WINS being used?


        • #5
          WINS simply adds another level of name resolution to your network. It should enhance discoverability and will not impact your network. Has adding WINS to the PDC resolved your issue? Check out this article for WINS best practices
          A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy