2.2.1 NetBIOS Name Syntax

[RFC1001] and [RFC1002] are confusing with respect to the definition of the name syntax. [RFC1001] section 5.2 states: "The name space is flat and uses sixteen alphanumeric characters. Names may not start with an asterisk (*)."

[RFC1002] section 4.1 states: "The following is the uncompressed representation of the NetBIOS name "FRED", which is the 4 ASCII characters, F, R, E, D, followed by 12 space characters (0x20)."

This creates ambiguity with regard to the term "alphanumeric characters" because the asterisk and space characters are neither letters nor numbers."

This document clarifies the ambiguity by specifying that the name space is defined as sixteen 8-bit binary bytes, with no restrictions, except that the name SHOULD NOT<4> start with an asterisk (*).

Neither [RFC1001] nor [RFC1002] discusses whether names are case-sensitive. This document clarifies this ambiguity by specifying that because the name space is defined as sixteen 8-bit binary bytes, a comparison MUST be done for equality against the entire 16 bytes. As a result, NetBIOS names are inherently case-sensitive.

It is important to understand that the choice of name used by a higher-layer protocol or application is up to that protocol or application and not NetBIOS.