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IPX/SPX (Internetwork Packet eXchange / Sequenced Packet Exchange) - an explanation

IPX/SPX is a routable protocol and can be used for small and large networks.The following protocols are part of the IPX/SPX suite:
  • SAP - Service Advertising Protocol packets are used by file and print servers to periodically advertise the address of the server and the services available. It works at the application, presentation, and session levels.
  • NCP - NetWare Core Protocol provides for client/server interactions such as file and print sharing. It works at the application, presentation, and session levels.
  • SPX - Sequenced Packet Exchange operates at the transport layer providing connection oriented communication on top of IPX.
  • IPX - Internetwork Packet Exchange supports the transport and network layers of the OSI network model. Provides for network addressing and routing. It provides fast, unreliable, communication with network nodes using a connection less datagram service.
  • RIP - Routing Information Protocol is the default routing protocol for IPX/SPX networks which operates at the network layer. A distance-vector algorithm is used to calculate the best route for a packet.
  • ODI - Open Data-link Interface operates at the data link layer allowing IPX to work with any network interface card.

Novell NetWare 2.x and 3.x use Ethernet 802.3 as their default frame type. Novell NetWare 4.x networks use Ethernet 802.2 as their default frame type. If communication does not occur between two NetWare computers it is a good idea to check the netware versions of the two computers to be sure their frame types match. If the frame types do not match on an ethernet network, the computers cannot communicate.