Which Windows Server 2008 Networking Services were removed and which should you use instead?

If you are a long-time Windows Server user, you may boot up Windows Server 2008, look for a common networking feature or protocol, and find that it no longer exists in this version of Windows Server. So what are the Windows Server Networking services & protocols that have been removed? And what should you be using instead? Let’s find out!

What Network Services & Protocols are removed from Windows Server 2008?

I found it interesting to read that the following well-known and traditional network services & protocols have been removed from Windows Server 2008:

  • Bandwidth Allocation Protocol (BAP) – BAP is used for multi-link PPP connections and especially with bonding ISDN links. Today, there just isn’t much need for Windows Servers to connect directly to PPP connections.
  • X.25 – a wide-area network protocol, X.25 was replaced by frame-relay and today, more and more, by MPLS.
  • Serial Line Interface Protocol (SLIP) – the SLIP protocol is used for dialup networking but it has fewer features than PPP. Thus, PPP has become the primary method of dialup and PPTP, PPP’s Internet tunneling cousin, is commonly used for VPN connections with Windows systems.
  • Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) – while ATM may still be in use on some carriers networks, it has grown to be less and less popular. This is especially true when it comes to Windows Server connecting directly to an ATM network.
  • NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport Protocol – even Novell Netware has long since changed to IP so there is no reason that Windows should still have it.
  • Services for Macintosh (SFM) – with new Apple Mac systems running IP for some time now, there is little need for this Windows networking service anymore.
  • Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) routing protocol component in Routing and Remote Access – while I never found a need for my Windows Server to exchange routes with, say OSPF routers, I thought that it was pretty neat that it was possible. So, while I am a little disappointed that this functionality is gone, I can understand why.
  • Basic Firewall in Routing and Remote Access – the Basic Windows Server Firewall has been replaced with the new Advanced Windows Firewall. Read more about this in my article: How to configure the new Windows Server 2008 advanced Firewall MMC Snap-in.
  • SPAP, EAP-MD5-CHAP, and MS-CHAP (also known as MS-CHAP v1) authentication protocols for PPP-based connections – these protocols were used with PPP connections and, frankly, these protocols have been replaced with new, more current options.

Now, I am sure that many of you are saying “good riddance!” as many of these protocols & services are old and deprecated. However, if you were using any of these protocols & services, don’t worry because Microsoft didn’t just “take things out” of Windows 2008 Server, they “added back in” a number of new networking services & protocols.

What new Networking Services are available in Windows 2008 Server?

Now, let’s look at what is new and what has replaced some of these deprecated network services…

  • SMB 2.0 – not that you can “see” SMB very well in action and not that you spend any time thinking about how your Windows data is transmitted which using it, but SMB 2.0 is a major improvement over SMB version 1.0 in the previous version of Windows Server. SMB 2.0 is more efficient and reduces rout drops when making data requests, it supports much larger data buffers, it is better able to withstand short network glitches, and it supports symbolic links.

Keep in mind that the client and server that are communicating must be running SMB 2.0. That means that you an only use SMB 2.0 between a Windows Server 2008 system, a Windows Vista system, or some combination of the two.

  • Improved TCP/IP Network Stack – the “next generation” network stack of Windows Server 2008 has the following enhancements:
    – Receive Window Auto-Tuning
    – Compound TCP
    – ECN Support
    – Enhancements for High-loss environments
    – Neighbor unreachability detection for IPv4
    – Fail-back support for default gateway changes
    – Changes in PMTU for black hold detection
    – Network Diagnostics Framework support
    – ESTATS Support
    – New Packet filtering model with Windows Filtering platform
    – Numerous IPv6 Enhancements
    – TCP Chimney Offload
  • DNS Server Improvements

    – Quicker response when the DNS server loads
    – IPv6 Support
    – Support for Read Only DCs (RODC)
    – Global Single name support
  • Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements
  • Network Awareness – previously, network applications might just “hang” if their network connection was lost. With Windows Server 2008, applications can be aware of whether the network is up or down and react accordingly.
  • Windows Advanced Firewall – the new Advanced Firewall is stateful and works on both incoming and outgoing traffic. For more information, see my article How to configure the new Windows Server 2008 advanced Firewall MMC Snap-in.
  • IPSec Improvements

For more specifics on these new network features of Windows Server 2008, please see: Microsoft TechNet- New Networking Features in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista.

Adding Network Service Roles & Features

New in Windows Server 2008, to add some of these network services, you will need to add them as either a role or a feature. For example, DNS and DHCP are roles, as you see below in Figure 1.

Figure 1

On the other hand, features like Network Load Balancing, SMTP Server, Telnet Server, TFTP client, WINS Server, and Wireless Networking are all features (see below in Figure 2).

Figure 2

Keep these differences and applications in mind when administering your new Windows 2008 Server.

For more information on the difference between roles & features see my Admin tip: What is the difference between a Role and a Feature when customizing your Windows 2008 Server?

In Summary

There are a number of networking services in Windows 2008 Server that have gone away and there are a number of new networking services. It is important to know not only what is new but also what is not longer available. Additionally, there are a number of pure networking enhancements to Windows Server 2008 that you do not have to “add” they are just built into the operating system. I am especially excited about some of these pure networking performance enhancements like SMB 2.0 and the improved TCP/IP network stack! I hope you will check out some of the new Windows Server 2008 networking features for yourself!

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