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Server Message Block (SMB)

Last updated: December 9, 2016

What Does Server Message Block (SMB) Mean?

Server Message Block (SMB) is an application-layer network protocol that facilitates network communication while providing shared access to client files, printers and serial ports.

SMB is prevalent in Microsoft Windows operating systems released prior to the Active Directory protocol, where it was known as Microsoft Windows Network.

SMB is also known as the Common Internet File System (CIFS).


Techopedia Explains Server Message Block (SMB)

SMB was engineered to run via the following application programming interfaces (API) for the network basic input/output system (NetBIOS) and the NetBIOS extended user interface (NetBEUI):

  • NetBIOS frame
  • NetBIOS over Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX)
  • NetBIOS over Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

SMB features include:

  • Uses Windows platform servers and workstations
  • Includes Samba protocol daemons on Unix and Unix-like platforms
  • Facilitates NetBIOS transport via Windows legacy versions
  • Uses Network Neighborhood (NetHood) protocols that function as NetBIOS transport services
  • Authenticates multiprocess communication channels via Distributed Computing Environment/Remote Procedure Call (DCE/RPC) services


Common Internet File System (CIFS), Microsoft Windows Network

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