Either a Samba server or a Windows NT server can function as a WINS server. When a WINS server is used with NetBIOS enabled, UDP unicasts can be routed which allows name resolution across networks. Without a WINS server, the UDP broadcast is limited to the local subnet and therefore cannot be routed to other subnets, workgroups, or domains. If WINS replication is necessary, do not use Samba as your primary WINS server, as Samba does not currently support WINS replication.
In a mixed NT/2000/2003 server and Samba environment, it is recommended that you use the Microsoft WINS capabilities. In a Samba-only environment, it is recommended that you use only one Samba server for WINS.
The following is an example of the
smb.conf file in which the Samba server is serving as a WINS server:
wins support = Yes
All servers (including Samba) should connect to a WINS server to resolve NetBIOS names. Without WINS, browsing only occurs on the local subnet. Furthermore, even if a domain-wide list is somehow obtained, hosts cannot be resolved for the client without WINS.