WINS Replication

You should recall from NT 4 that you could configure WINS servers to replicate information to one another, giving multiple WINS servers a more complete view of the network. This functionality still exists, with the ability to configure replication manually, as well as automatically. The automatic partner configuration can be set on a WINS server and uses multicast traffic (address to find and communicate with other WINS servers. By default, these servers will become push/pull partners of one another, and will replicate via ‘pull’ every 2 hours. The upside of using automatic configuration is that it is simple, but the downside is that you may want a higher degree of control. Also understand that all of your routers must support forwarding multicasts in order for this to work. Turned off by default, you can configure the WINS server to use multicasts via the Replication Partners properties Advanced tab.

The more traditional way of configuring WINS replication is manually, by making systems push/pull partners. These relationships can be one-way, or two-way, whichever best meets your needs.

Push partner – a push partner is configured notify its pull partner of changes to the WINS database after a certain number of changes. The push partner is simply a messenger – it tells the pull partner ‘I have changes’, and the pull partner grabs the changes. Push partner parameters are generally set in LAN environments where bandwidth is not a big issue.

Pull partner – a pull partner is configured to obtain changes from configured push partners as a function of time. That is, the pull partner can be configured to obtain changes at a certain time interval that is convenient for our network. For example, you might configure pull parameters in a WAN environment with limited bandwidth to replicate at midnight.

Remember the key – push partners get configured according to number of database changes; pull partners as a function of time. Configure for push in LAN environments and pull in WAN environments as a general rule. To have WINS servers replicate fully with one another, they must be push/pull partners of each other (since replication is set up one-way – pull obtaining changes from push – by default).

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.