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IPX – Internetwork Packet Exchange

IPX stands for Internetwork Packet Exchange . IPX is a networking protocol, that is initially used on networks using the Novell NetWare operating systems, but gradually it being used widely on networks deploying Microsoft Windows LANS, as they replaced NetWare LANS. Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) is the network layer protocol in the IPX protocol suite.

IPX functions same as IP protocol and it defines the way of data sent and received between the systems. It is used to establish maintain a connection between different devices. IPX is basically used to create connection and propagate the data transfer between devices.

IPX does not need a consistent connection, it means its connection less. IPX transfers packets from one system to another. If connection is dropped the package transfer is paused and it resumes once the connection is back. IPX do not use unnecessary resources and loads only when connection is established.

One of the biggest advantage of IPX is that it has a very low memory requirement. It means it leaves a small memory footprint. Another advantage of IPX is it’s very easy to configure on client computers. IPX network is configured automatically.

Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) is a network layer protocol and provides connectionless datagram services for Ethernet, Token Ring, and other common data-link layer protocols. IPX is the commonly used local area network (LAN) protocol.

IPX provides peer-to-peer support connectivity. IPX follows a layered structure of protocols. These layers allow applications to control the application layer, presentation and session layer. Each layer services the layer above it and is provided by the layer below it. IPX is ideal for local area networks or private networks with different protocol and communication functions. Just like IP, IPX is also connectionless and contains end user data, such as IP and network addresses. IPX is a datagram or packet protocol. IPX works at the Network layer of communication protocol. It works on OSI i.e. Open Systems Interconnection.
In IPX network, IPX packets use 32 bit (4 byte) or 48 bit (6 byte) network numbers to identify each data link. All nodes on the connected network have same network number. Routers use these network numbers to route IPX packets from one network to another within an internetwork. Thus, IPX is a routable protocol. IPX periodically notify the network of their presence using SAP, which allows IPX routers to construct server tables based on SAP numbers.
An IPX network administrator need to take care :

  • to assign all servers in the same network the same network number
  • to assign different network numbers to different frame formats in the same network
  • to assign different network numbers to different interfaces of servers with multiple network cards (Novell NetWare server with multiple network cards worked automatically as a router)
  • to assign different network numbers to servers in different interconnected network
  • to start router process on nodes with multiple network cards in more complex networks.

IPX also acts like a transport layer protocol. Using IPX makes establishing connection and data transfer easy and light on memory.

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7 comments

  1. This was a bit too technical for me, but yet I understood this much that internet is about to change for good(if I am not wrong).

  2. This is quite interesting, I would need to learn more about networking to understand more about this !

  3. Priyanka Singhal

    You explained each point so well about IPX. Didnt knw that it help connecting between different devices. And it has low memory requirement. And function same as ip protocol.

  4. IPX with low memory requirement is a win win for all tech lovers.

  5. OMG this is so technical! Hats off to you for writing this so nicely!

  6. Does it in any way depend on the communication protocol like the 4G or 5G?

  7. You explained this technical topic very nicely . I would be happy to learn more about ipx to gain more knowledge.

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