INTERNET-DRAFT                                    Christopher R. Hertel
draft-crhertel-smb-url-00.txt                                Samba Team
Expires October 10, 2001                                 April 10, 2001

                      SMB Filesharing URL Scheme

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
   other groups may also distribute working documents as

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

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   Discussions regarding this document and the SMB URL scheme should
   take place on the mailing list.  Information on
   joining this mailing list can be found at:


   The Server Message Block (SMB) protocol is one of the most widely
   used network filesystem protocols in existence.  This document
   describes a URL scheme for use with SMB over IETF STD #19 transport.
   The SMB URL scheme can be used to indicate SMB workgroups, servers,
   shares, files, inter-process communications pipes, print queues, and
   devices;  the objects in the SMB network filesystem space.

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Table of Contents
   1. Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   2. SMB URL Scheme  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      2.1 Server Types  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      2.2 SMB URL Semantics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
      2.3 Relative SMB URLs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
      2.4 Fragments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
      2.5 Queries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   3. SMB Namespace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   4. Authentication and Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . .  7
   5. SMB URL Examples  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   6. Character Encoding Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
   7. Use of the 'port' Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
   8. URL Syntax  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   9. Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   10. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   11. Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   Appendix A. SMB Implementation Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   Appendix B. Working with NetBIOS Names (Implementation Notes)  . . 11
      B.1. Resolving DNS names and IP addresses to SMB server names . 11
      B.2. Determining Server Specifier Type  . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
      B.3. Workgroup vs. SMB Server Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

1. Introduction

   The SMB (Server Message Block) protocol was developed in the 1980's
   by IBM Corporation and later extended by 3Com Corporation, Intel
   Corporation, and Microsoft Corporation.  SMB was originally designed
   to be carried on a proprietary network transport, the interface to
   which was called NetBIOS (Network Basic Input Output System).  Two
   Internet RFCs ([RFC1001], [RFC1002]) were published which describe a
   mechanism for implementing the NetBIOS API on top of TCP and UDP.
   Those RFCs are now known collectively as Internet Standard #19 (STD

   Several attempts have been made to document and even standardize the
   SMB protocol (see [ONET], [SNIACIFS]), yet the further development of
   SMB remains under the control of Microsoft.  Despite its proprietary
   nature, the workings of SMB over STD 19 transport are well known.
   SMB has been successfully implemented by several commercial vendors
   and in Open Source.  SMB server and client software is available for
   a wide variety of operating system platforms.  The very large number
   of systems which support this form of filesharing make an SMB URL
   scheme both practical and desirable.

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2. SMB URL Scheme

   The SMB URL follows the generic URI scheme syntax for URLs as defined
   in [RFC2396], with exceptions and caveats as noted.

   The SMB URL takes one of the following general forms:


   A "server", in this context, is the network identification of a
   system that provides network access to SMB services ("shares") via
   STD 19 transport.  Servers are identified by NetBIOS name (see
   [RFC1001], section 16.1.1).  Alternatively, a server MAY be
   identified by DNS name or IP address in an SMB URL.  A DNS name or IP
   address MUST be reverse-mapped (resolved) to a NetBIOS name in order
   to establish a NetBIOS Session Service connection (see section 3 and
   Appendix B, below).  Thus, the server field of the SMB URL is said to
   "resolve" to a NetBIOS name.

   A "share" is a named service offered by a server.  A share can
   represent the root of a directory tree, print queues, an
   inter-process communications (IPC) port, or other shared object.

   The "path" identifies a resource within a share, such as a named pipe
   within an IPC share or a file within a directory.

   Operating systems that are derived from Microsoft's MS-DOS or IBM's
   PC-DOS (eg. Windows and OS/2) use a format known as Universal Naming
   Convention (UNC) to identify objects within an SMB filesharing
   network.  The UNC format uses backslashes ("\") to delimit path
   elements.  In general, an SMB URL string can be formed from a UNC
   string by simply replacing the UNC backslashes with forward slashes
   and adding the "smb:" prefix.  For example:

     UNC form                         URL form
     -----------------------------    ---------------------------------
     \\scred\src\                     smb://scred/src/
     \\scred\src\jcifs\               smb://scred/src/jcifs/
     \\scred\src\jcifs\    smb://scred/src/jcifs/

   The reverse mapping is not quite as simple due to additional fields
   that may be included in the SMB URL, such as authentication
   information or fragment references (see sections 2.4 and 4).

2.1 Server Types

   There are two server types that may be referenced using the SMB URL
   scheme.  These are SMB servers and workgroup browse servers.  A
   workgroup browse server is a special case of an SMB server.

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   In an SMB filesharing network, SMB servers are assigned membership in
   workgroups.  For each workgroup, a list of member servers is
   maintained.  This list is known as the "browse list".  The browse
   list also contains a list of all of the workgroups in use on the
   local IP subnet.

   The browse list may be obtained by connecting to the SMB service of a
   host that is running the workgroup browse service, accessing a
   specific share, and opening a specific named pipe to request the
   list.  Thus, a workgroup browse server must also be an SMB server,
   and the browse service may be seen as a specific instance of an SMB

   The SMB URL form


   represents the root of the SMB URL hierarchy.  The utility of this
   form is that it may be used to indicate the set of available
   workgroups.  As described above each workgroup within the set
   contains, in turn, a list of SMB servers.  Thus the list of
   workgroups is, logically, at the top of the hierarchy.

   When presented with this form, an application would likely request a
   copy of the browse list from a workgroup browse server.  For
   applications which do not implement support for workgroups, this form
   has no utility.

   If the application does support the workgroup browse service, then
   the SMB URL form


   is overloaded.  The "server" field may resolve to either a workgroup
   name or an SMB server name, or both, depending upon the configuration
   of the SMB filesharing network.  Appendix B outlines a mechanism for
   determining the service type of a server name.

   If a URL string in the above format is found to represent both a
   workgroup and an SMB server, then the application determines which
   interpretation should be used.  An application SHOULD choose to
   process both interpretations if possible.  For example, consider an
   application such as a web browser which might process the SMB URL
   string "smb://nbname/" as follows:

   - If the name "nbname" resolves to an SMB server name, the
     application will display a list of shares offered by the server.

   - If the name "nbname" resolves to a workgroup name, the application
     will display a list of servers which are members of that workgroup.

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   - If the name "nbname" resolves to both an SMB server name and a
     workgroup name, then the application will display the list of
     workgroup member servers followed by the list of shares.

   NetBIOS names that represent both a workgroup and an SMB server are
   not common.  This situation typically represents a misconfigured SMB
   filesharing network (see [RFC1001], section 10).

   Application support for access to the workgroup browser service is
   optional.  An application specifically designed to query the
   workgroup browser service need not implement support for accessing
   SMB servers directly.  In this case, SMB shares and the objects which
   they contain would not be accessible via the URL.

2.2 SMB URL Semantics


      This form of the SMB URL represents the root of an SMB filesharing
      network hierarchy; that is, the hierarchy of servers and services
      available to the client.

      This form has no utility unless the application includes support
      for the workgroup browser service, as described above.


      This form of the SMB URL represents an SMB server; a system
      offering shares via SMB over STD 19 transport.  The server field
      may resolve to either an SMB server name, or a workgroup browse
      service name, or both.


      This form identifies a specific share offered by an SMB server.
      The workgroup browse service does not offer shares.  If a share
      name is present, then the server name is always interpreted as an
      SMB server name.


      This form specifies a path within the given share.  The path may
      represent a print queue, device, named pipe, directory, or file.

2.3 Relative SMB URLs

   Relative SMB URLs are permitted and are resolved according to the
   rules defined in [RFC2396] section 5.2.

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2.4 Fragments

   URL fragment references are permitted if the SMB URL resolves to a
   file or file-like object for which fragments have meaning.  The
   fragment syntax is:


2.5 Queries

   The semantics of URL queries are not defined for the SMB URL scheme.

3. SMB Namespace

   As previously described, STD 19 provides a mechanism for implementing
   the NetBIOS API on top of TCP and UPD.  In doing so, these RFCs
   describe a NetBIOS Virtual LAN system.  The virtual NetBIOS LAN has
   its own addressing mechanism, which is based on the use of NetBIOS
   "names".  These names do not map directly to DNS names, and must be
   encoded before they are used.  (See [RFC1001], section 14.)  Also
   note that the NetBIOS namespace is flat, unlike the hierarchical DNS

   In order to connect to a server, a client must know the server's
   NetBIOS name (NetBIOS address).  This is a requirement of the STD 19
   Session Request Packet.  Many SMB implementations, however, allow the
   use of DNS names and/or IP address for identifying servers.  The DNS
   name or IP address must be reverse-mapped to a NetBIOS service name
   in order to establish an SMB session.  A mechanism for performing
   this reverse-mapping is outlined in Appendix B.

   A NetBIOS Scope ID (see [RFC1001], section 9) is sometimes used to
   identify and separate virtual NetBIOS LANs from one another.  Scope
   IDs are identical in syntax to DNS domain names.  In practice, it is
   not possible to determine whether a name is an IP address, a DNS
   name, or a NetBIOS name by examining the syntax of the string.  (It
   is possible to syntactically determine that a given string is NOT an
   IP address, but the reverse is not true.)  A mechanism for
   determining the network address format provided in Appendix B.

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4. Authentication and Security Considerations

   SMB authentication can be categorized as follows:

      o None
      o Share-based
      o User-based
      o Authentication Server-based (NT Domain)

   The authentication mechanism to be used is negotiated during
   client/server session setup.  Client applications, therefore, are
   aware of the server's authentication requirements and may prompt for
   appropriate input (password, username, authentication domain).  By
   prompting for authentication information, an application ensures that
   such information is entered by the user in a controlled manor, and
   that security measures (if any) such as password encryption or
   password hash generation are applied by the SMB protocol handler
   before the data are transmitted.

   This specification also provides an authentication shorthand, though
   it does collide rather spectacularly with the warning in [RFC2396],
   section 3.2.2, which recommends against exactly this sort of thing.

   The shorthand mechanism takes the form:


   This allows the specification of:

      ntdomain - The authentication domain (single-signon database
                 server) to use for authorization
      username - User account identifier
      password - Password

   This syntax is of particular use with command-line applications,
   batch scripts, configuration files, etc.  That is, any situation in
   which a multi-step exchange between a user and an application is
   awkward or impossible.

   It is recommended that application authors consider carefully the
   security implications of providing support for this form.  Likewise,
   authors of documentation in HTML or other formats are advised not to
   include authentication information in such documents, either within a
   URL string or otherwise.

5. SMB URL Examples

         -- Indicates either a workgroup or an SMB server (or both).
            The underlying application must resolve the name in order to
            determine the service type.

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         -- Indicates the share "src" on server "scred".

         -- Indicates file /jcifs/smb/ within the "src" share
            on node "scred".  Also specifies a username, "neko", to be
            used when connecting to the SMB share.

6. Character Encoding Issues

   The only restriction that STD 19 places on the octet values that may
   be used in a NetBIOS name is that the name may not begin with an
   asterisk ('*', ASCII value 0x2A).  No other values are listed as
   excluded in the RFCs.

   Octet values less than 128 (0x80) in a NetBIOS name are commonly
   interpreted as US-ASCII characters.  Unfortunately, there is no
   convention or best practice for octet values 128 and above.

   The SMB protocol also allows clients and servers to negotiate the use
   of Unicode in share and path names.  Once again, however, there is no
   standard character set for SMB communications and no mechanism for
   negotiating which character set is to be used between the client and
   server.  It is, therefore, not possible to know which character set
   to use on the wire.

   NetBIOS names, share names, and the directory paths and filenames
   offered by an SMB server may all contain characters from outside the
   7-bit US-ASCII character set.  Applications MUST support the use of
   the URL escape sequence as described in [RFC2396] to accommodate
   octet values that represent non-US-ASCII characters.  Applications
   which support extended character sets provide the end user with a
   means of hand-configuring compatible character sets.

7. Use of the 'port' Field

   The use of the port field is reserved.

   This document presents an SMB URL for use with SMB over STD 19
   transport.  The SMB protocol can also be transported natively over
   TCP.  SMB over native TCP is known as CIFS (Common Internet
   FileSystem), and was introduced by Microsoft as part of their Windows
   2000 product.  CIFS uses port 445/TCP as its service port.

   If the SMB URL can be extended to include support for CIFS
   filesharing without changing the syntax provided in this document,
   then an SMB URL in the form:


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   may be used to specify CIFS objects.  The use of the SMB URL to
   specify CIFS objects is beyond the scope of this document.  It is
   strongly suggested, however, that a separate CIFS URL scheme would be
   preferable to extending the SMB URL scheme for this purpose.

8. URL Syntax

   The SMB URL conforms to the BNF grammar given in
   [RFC2396] Appendix A, with the following extensions:

      host          = nbtname | hostname | IPv4address
      nbtname       = netbiosname scope
      netbiosname   = 1*( netbiosnamec ) *( netbiosnamec | "*" )
      netbiosnamec  = ( aphanum | escaped  | ":" | "=" | "+" | "$" |
                        "," | "-" | "_" | "!" | "~" | "'" | "(" | ")" )
      scope         = *( "." domainlabel )

   This change specifies that NetBIOS names, including the optional
   Scope ID, may be used in forming SMB URLs.

   Also, the userinfo field is parsed as follows:

      userinfo      = [ ntdomain ";" ] username [ ":" password ]
      ntdomain      = *( unreserved | escaped |
                         "&" | "=" | "+" | "$" | "," )
      username      = *( unreserved | escaped |
                         "&" | "=" | "+" | "$" | "," )
      password      = *( unreserved | escaped |
                         "&" | "=" | "+" | "$" | "," )

9. Acknowledgements

   The creation of this document would not have been possible without
   the help and guidance of

   Michael B. Allen, jCIFS Team
   Steven French, IBM
   Richard Sharpe, Samba Team

   and the aggregate knowledge and wisdom of

   The Samba Team
   The jCIFS Team
   The Samba-TNG Team
   and the members of the samba-technical mailing list.

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10. References

   [ONET]     Microsoft Corporation, Intel Corporation, "Microsoft
              Networks/OpenNET Filesharing Protocol", Document Version
              2, Intel Part No. 138446, November 7, 1988.

   [SNIACIFS] Storage Network Industry Association CIFS Documentation
              Work Group, "Common Internet File System (CIFS)", Draft
              0.9, March 2001.

   [RFC1001]  "Protocol Standard For a NetBIOS Service on a TCP/UDP
              Transport: Concepts and Methods", RFC 1001, March 1987.

   [RFC1002]  "Protocol Standard For a NetBIOS Service on a TCP/UDP
              Transport: Detailed Specifications", RFC 1002, March 1987.

   [RFC2396]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R. and L. Masinter, "Uniform
              Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax", RFC 2396,
              August 1998.

11. Author's Address

    Christopher R. Hertel
    University of Minnesota
    Networking and Telecommunications
    2218 University Avenue SE
    Minneapolis, MN  55414-3029, USA


Appendix A.  SMB Implementation Resources

   As of the time of this writing, there is no standard specification
   for the SMB protocol.  An attempt was made to provide such a standard
   in 1996, when a draft specification was submitted to the IETF.  That
   draft have since expired, but the Storage Network Industry
   Association (SNIA) has recently developed a new specification based
   upon it.  SNIA has plans to publish the new specification once it has
   been accepted by SNIA members and interested third-parties.

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Appendix B.  Working with NetBIOS Names (Implementation Notes)

   The information presented in this section is intended as a guide for
   implementors.  This information is not directly relevant to the
   syntax or semantics of the SMB URL scheme.

   NetBIOS names are addresses.  They represent communication end-points
   within a NetBIOS LAN.  [RFC1001] and [RFC1002] provide a mechanism
   for creating virtual NetBIOS LANs over TCP and UDP transport.  Part
   of that mechanism is the NetBIOS name service, which provides for
   mapping between NetBIOS names and IP addresses.  A given host system
   may register several NetBIOS names, each representing an application
   or service that can communicate with other applications or services
   via the NetBIOS API.

   SMB sessions are established and messages transferred via the NetBIOS
   session service (see [RFC[1001], section 5.3 and [RFC1002] section
   4.3). The system that originates the connection is the "calling"
   node;  the target node is the "called" node.  In order to establish
   an SMB session, a TCP connection must be established between the
   calling and called nodes.  If a TCP connection already exists, the
   SMB session may make use of the existing connection.

   Before a NetBIOS session can be established, the calling node must
   discover the IP address of the called node.  This is done using the
   NetBIOS name service (see [RFC1001] section 5.2 and [RFC1002] section
   4.2).  NetBIOS names are always 16 octets, padded with spaces (0x20)
   if necessary, as specified in the RFCs.  By convention, however, the
   16th octet is reserved for use as a service type indicator.  This
   field is known as the "suffix".

   The suffix is NEVER specified in an SMB URL string, but is appended
   by the implementation.

B.1.  Resolving DNS names and IP addresses to SMB server names.

   The NetBIOS session service requires that the client provide the
   NetBIOS names of both the calling and called nodes.  When connecting
   to an SMB server, the calling name is the default NetBIOS name of the
   client, space padded as described, with a suffix byte value of 0x00.
   The called name is the NetBIOS name of the server with a suffix byte
   value of 0x20.

   Applications which support the SMB URL SHOULD include support for the
   use of DNS names or IP addresses in addition to NetBIOS names when
   initiating SMB connections via NetBIOS over TCP/IP transport.  This
   functionality is an extension to the NetBIOS over TCP/IP behavior
   specified in RFC 1001 and RFC 1002, and is not part of that standard.

   As stated above, the Session Request packet requires a called and a
   calling name, both of which are NetBIOS names.  In order to create a
   Session Request packet, the DNS name or IP address of the server must

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   be reverse-mapped to the server's NetBIOS name.  Mechanisms for doing
   so include:

   -- Issuing a NetBIOS Adapter Status Query

      This is the most reliable method for discovering an SMB server

      A NetBIOS Adapter Status Query is sent to the target IP address.
      (See [RFC1001] section 15.1.4 and [RFC1002] sections 4.2.17 &
      4.2.18.)  If a response is received, and if the target node is
      running an SMB server service, then the response will include a
      NetBIOS name with a suffix byte value of 0x20.  This NetBIOS name
      may be used as the called name in a Session Request packet.

   -- Generic Server Name

      This method is not supported by all SMB server implementations.

      Some SMB servers will accept the generic SMB server name
      "*SMBSERVER".  A client can simply use the name "*SMBSERVER" as
      the called name in a Session Request packet.  As with all SMB
      server NetBIOS names, the "*SMBSERVER"  name must be space padded
      and terminated with a suffix byte value of 0x20.

      The "*SMBSERVER" is an illegal NetBIOS name (see [RFC1001],
      section 5.2), so it is never registered with the NetBIOS name
      service and will not be returned in a NetBIOS Adapter Status

      The target will return a CALLED NAME NOT PRESENT error to indicate
      indicate that it does not support the "*SMBSERVER" generic name,
      or that SMB services are not running.

   -- Parsing the DNS Name or IP address (guessing)

      This is the least reliable method for discovering an SMB server

      Systems which support STD 19 transport will often use the same
      base name within the DNS and NetBIOS name spaces.  Thus, the first
      label of the DNS name is a good guess at the NetBIOS name of the
      target.  If the input is an IP address rather than a DNS name, the
      a reverse lookup against the DNS MAY be performed to determine the
      DNS name.

      The first label of the DNS name consists of the initial portion of
      the DNS name string up to but not including the first dot
      character ('.').  If the label is greater than 15 bytes in length,
      it is not likely to be a NetBIOS name.  It may, however, be
      truncated to 15 bytes.  The result is then space padded to a total
      of 15 bytes, and a suffix value 0x20 is added.  This forms a valid

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      NetBIOS name that may be used as a called name in a Session
      Request packet.

      If the target returns a CALLED NAME NOT PRESENT error, then the
      DNS name guess is incorrect.

      It is difficult, syntactically, to determine whether a given
      string is a DNS name or an IP address.  Some existing applications
      will interpret the decimal string representation of the first
      octet of an IP address as if it were a DNS label.  For example,
      given the string "" some applications try using "192"
      as the called name (padded, and with the 0x20 suffix, as described
      above).  This behavior is acceptable.

   Any or all of the above MAY be tried in any order.

B.2.  Determining Server Specifier Type

   NetBIOS names, DNS names, and IP addresses can not be easily
   distinguished syntactically.  For example, the string ""
   might be an IP address, but it is also a valid NetBIOS name and may
   even be a valid partially qualified DNS name.  The appropriate
   mechanism for distinguishing between these server specifier types is
   the trial-and-error method.

   Implementations SHOULD begin with the assumption that the specifier
   is a NetBIOS name.  The following process is used to test this

      If the name string contains dot characters ('.', ASCII 0x2E), then
      separate the name into NetBIOS name and Scope ID at the first dot.


        If the resulting NetBIOS name is greater than 15 octets in
        length, then the name is not a NetBIOS name.  Exit, indicating

        Issue an STD 19 Name Query using the NetBIOS name and Scope ID.
        A suffix value of 0x20 or 0x1D must be used.  Both values may be
        used.  See section B.3.

        If a Positive Name Query Response is received, then the the name
        is a NetBIOS name.  Exit, indicating success and returning the
        NetBIOS name and scope ID as parsed.

        Find the next dot character in the original string and
        re-separate the string at that dot.


   Note that the empty string is a valid Scope ID.

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   If the server specifier is not a NetBIOS name, then it is either a
   DNS name or an IP address.  These are semantically equivalent.

B.3. Workgroup vs. SMB Server Names

   If the URL string is of the form


   then the server field may represent either an SMB server name or a
   workgroup name.  The name MUST NOT be interpreted as a workgroup name

      -- Authentication information is present in the server field.

         This is because null authentication is used when requesting a
         browse list.

      -- The server field is entered as a DNS name or an IP address.

         This is because workgroups, conceptually, represent a group of
         servers rather than an individual server and the browse list
         may be retrieved from one or more browse servers.  (A workgroup
         name is a NetBIOS group name.)

   In these cases, the server name is interpreted as a reference to an
   SMB server only.  Thus, workgroups may only be accessed via their
   NetBIOS names.

   When testing the name using the algorithm presented in section B.2, a
   NetBIOS name suffix value of 0x20 is used to find an SMB server, and
   a suffix value of 0x1D is used to find a workgroup browse server.

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