Named Pipes

A named pipe is a logical connection, similar to a TCP session, between a client and server that are involved in a Common Internet File System (CIFS)/SMB/SMB Version 2 and Version 3 connection. The name of the pipe serves as the endpoint for communication in the same way that a port number serves as the endpoint for TCP sessions. This is called a named pipe endpoint. The SMB access protocols [MS-CIFS] [MS-SMB] [MS-SMB2] supported by the file system control codes specified in [MS-FSCC] offer the named pipe construct.

Many protocols layer on top of named pipes, either directly or indirectly, through the Remote Procedure Call Protocol Extensions specified in [MS-RPCE]. The advantage of using named pipes is that they insulate the higher-layer protocol from the chosen transport and they offer the higher-layer protocol the authentication services of the (CIFS)/ SMB/SMB Version 2 and Version 3 connection.

SMB clients access named pipe endpoints using the named pipe share named "IPC$". The IPC$ named pipe share allows only named pipe operations and Distributed File System (DFS) referral requests to itself. The data that is carried over IPC$ is an implementation detail of SMB [MS-CIFS].