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5. A brief discussion of IPX network topology

This is a much simplified explanation for people new to IPX. Large networks will probably break lots of the rules explained here. In complex IPX networks the administrator should always be consulted.

IPX networking revolves around a scheme of numbered networks unlike IP which places more emphasis on the interface addresses. A network is a collection of equipment connected to the same LAN segment and using the same frame type. Different frame types on the same LAN segment are treated as seperate networks.

Each network must be allocated a number which is unique across the entire internetwork. This is usually performed by a NetWare(tm) server, but can easily be performed by Linux. IPX clients are given this number by the server when starting, they only require to know the correct frame type.

Routing between networks is usually performed by putting two network cards in a server. This server then runs the RIP protocol which holds a routing table for the internetwork. Periodic broadcasts of this routing table are exchanged between servers. Within a short time each server 'discovers' the topology of the internetwork.

If you only wish to use the services of an existing NetWare server, you can use ipx_configure (section 7.1) to automatically define the IPX interfaces by using broadcast queries to look for a server. If this fails, or you wish to provide IPX services, you will need to define the interfaces manually using ipx_interface or mars_nwe.


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