TCP/IP has become the de facto protocol used in networking today, in conjunction with the growth and proliferation of the Internet as a communication tool. For all intents and purposes, TCP/IP is the primary networking protocol of Windows 2000, since Active Directory necessitates a TCP/IP-based network. However, you should still be aware that Windows 2000 supports a variety of other transport protocols including NetBEUI, NWLink (the IPX/SPX compatible transport), AppleTalk, and DLC (although this is a primarily used for special purposes, such as connecting to a non-TCP/IP network-connected printer). These other protocols will be looked at in more detail in the Server portion of the series.
TCP/IP configuration in Windows 2000 can be done both for LAN and remote access connections, as a function of configuring the associated connection object. Each connection object is configured independently, whether for file and printer sharing, or its TCP/IP properties.
At a minimum, the TCP/IP configuration must include an IP address and subnet mask. The IP address uniquely identifies a TCP/IP host, while the subnet mask allows us to determine which portion of an IP address designates the network, and which portion designates a host on that network (more on that later). Unless the host is connected to small isolated LAN, a default gateway address should also be provided. This is the IP address of the router to which this computer will forward all packets destined for hosts on other networks (except ones for which the host has an explicit routing table entry). The DNS entries in the lower portion of the screen shot above designate the IP addresses of a preferred and alternate DNS server to use to resolve host name and service-lookup queries. The elements behind the advanced button allows configuration of alternate IP addresses, gateways, DNS client properties, WINS client configuration, packet filtering settings, and so forth (again, this is covered in detail in the server portion of the series). Remember that for a system with three network cards, you would configure the properties (TCP/IP, etc) of each separately.