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In most home routers, you can find a DHCP client table. Obviously the router knows the IP and MAC addresses of the connected computers. However, most of the time the router can list the computer names as well. So what protocol do they use to get the names? Perhaps NetBIOS?

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The protocol the routers use is DHCP itself. Looking at this breakdown of the protocol messages, you can see that in the DHCPDISCOVER message, which is the message a client sends to request a DHCP IP, it contains a Server Host Name field, which contains the clients hostname.

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Oh thanks, I didn't know DHCPDISCOVER has such a field. Now I'm wondering why I can't see the hostname of my Ubuntu boxes in my router. Maybe I need WireShark to check what's going on. –  netvope Mar 12 '10 at 1:19

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