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Does 802.3 support IPX/SPX?

Does 802.3 support IPX/SPX? If so, if I have an access point that supports 802.3, how can it communicate with a client via IPX/SPX?

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You are asking about apples and oranges -- IPX/SPX is a part of the NetWare protocol suite. The NetWare suite of protocols supports several media-access (Layer 2) protocols, including Ethernet/IEEE 802.3 IPX is similar to the Internet Protocol from the TCP/IP suite, it is a connectionless Layer 3 (Network layer) protocol used to transfer datagrams between hosts and networks. SPX is the Transport protocol used to provide reliable transport for IPX datagrams, similar as TCP does for IP. Although current versions of Novell Netware use TCP/IP, before Netware version 5, IPX was the protocol in Netware networks. It is a small and easy to implement routable protocol developed by Novell and based on the Xerox Network System. The Netware protocol suite is a suite of several protocols for different functions, the most important being IPX and SPX.

A typical wireless LAN access point (AP) functions like a network bridge. Thus, the AP is transparent to the network protocol that passes through it. If you have set up your client wireless lan client to use IPX/SPX as a network protocol to talk to a Novell server the wireless LAN bridge itself will pass the traffic transparently to you.

This was first published in January 2004

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