What is IPX?

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What is IPX?
Internet Packet Exchange (IPX) ‘“ is a series of networking protocols that primarily uses Novell Netware Operating clients and servers. IPX is a datagram or mainly a packet protocol. This series of rules works in the Network layer of communications and it is connectionless. Similar to IP layer or the TCP/IP, it contains network addresses, which allow network messages to flow and be routed into different networks or a subnet. IPX works with Sequenced Packet Exchange (SPX) to provide services to networks.

IPX is a type of a layer protocol used by networks that is situated at the OSI model layer 3 while SPX is at the fourth layer. Both works and provides services that are connection-oriented amid two nodes in the network. The SPX acknowledge the Packet while IPX works at the communication.

The OSI model has 7 layers and it is arranged in the following sequence:
Physical Layer
Data Link
Network Layer ‘“ this contains the IPX
Transport Layer ‘“ this contains the SPX
Session layer
Presentation Layer
Application Layer

Both the IPX and SPX provide services for connection comparable with TCP/IP. IPX is similar to IP while SPX have the likeness to TCP. It is specifically designed for LAN or local area networks. TCP/IP was used as the standard protocol, because of its excellent operation through Wide Area Network (WAN). Just like IP, NetWare IPX can be dropped from overloaded routers. Moreover, it also does not guarantee the delivery of the complete message by the Network user. This is why IPX need SPX. SPX protocol function will ensure that the message delivered will be complete and in order.

IPX/SPX was the de-facto standard for DOS-era multi-user network games. In addition, because it is prevalence of IPX/SPX in LAN’s during the 90’s, Microsoft added support for the protocols in the Windows’ networking stack.

Novell is the one primarily in charge for the utilization of IPX as a widely held computer networking protocol. This is because its dominance of IPX in the market of system software for network operation. The Netware that was originally created by Novell is for DOS. The first early versions demanded a protocol stack that is hard-linked, which separates an executable that will be set up by the Network Administrator. It is separated for each network with a network card configuration. The executable will be loaded during boot time and will stay resident in the memory up until the computer system totally shuts down.

In IPX routing, the IPX address consists of a 4-byte Network number, 6-byte Node Number, and 2-byte Socket Number. The IPX is always routed dynamically. The routing architecture automatically works by acquiring information or by ‘learning’ the network addressing. In the IPX address, the Node number is usually the hardware address of the interface card. This number must be unique in the IPX network system. The Network number must be the same for all nodes on a particular physical network segment. While, Socket numbers corresponds to a particular service being accessed.

The Netware Servers broadcast routing information and service advertisements to all nodes in the segment. To address a service on a running server, each server must own an Internal Network Number, which can be found in the network number field of the IPX header.

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