I have a network setup with the following:

  • A wireless router with DD-WRT passing multiple SSID's via separate VLANs to a pfSense box.
  • Ethernet connected computers including one samba server within (no-VLAN) interface 2.
  • All wirelessly connected computers to SSID_KP (VLAN 5) within interface 3
  • All computers (MAC, Win, Linux) on both subnet mask can reach the samba share by hostname or ip address.

My issue is only the the computers on the same subnet mask ( can see the browsable file shares by just clicking "browse contents of network" or clicking network "workgroup". The computers on must explicitly specify the ip address or hostname to see the share.

Why does this happen? Is there a way to make network discovery work for the computers in the range?

This obviously isn't a huge problem because all computers on both subnet mask can access the file shares. However I'm trying to learn WHY the shares don't show up via network discovery on computers in the same LAN but different subnet mask. My firewall rules are obviously not blocking it because all computers can connect via hostname and IP.

  • Have you confirmed that all devices are configured identically when it comes to file sharing?
    – Ramhound
    May 31, 2017 at 14:32
  • Yes, there is no configuration difference between the different systems (Mac, Linux and Windows) beyond being connected via ethernet on one subnet mask or wifi on different subnet mask. I also considered the "home vs public" network possibility but they are connected as home network and the Linux machines don't force that option.
    – jtlindsey
    May 31, 2017 at 14:42

2 Answers 2


Be aware that MS is phasing out the obsolete and insecure NetBIOS name service (as suggested so frequently by Linux experts). Only Windows 10 Home has it after update 1803.

So make sure that home Samba server has its DNS name service enabled and filled in with data. Or some other DNS host on your network which covers Samba and other network hosts and services for clients. Also clients need to be pointed at that DNS server to get LAN resource names.

Heh NetBIOS has been around so long that even many Linux distributions default to assuming NetBIOS is present and doing the job easier than configuring DNS on the Linux box. After all it was a pain for Linux experts to disable NetBIOS on older Windows clients without disabling any programs - so why not just use it. Now the shoe is on the other foot after 15 years for MS to near finish phasing out NetBIOS.


Answer to the original question is that NetBIOS services are not directly routable (Workgroup = NetBIOS). The old NetBIOS answer was to setup a Computer browser on each subnet and configure them to forward info to a master Browser).

A simple Windows answer which may still work is to use HOMEGROUPS which uses the FUNCTION DISCOVERY services to gather info. However I suspect it is also defunct or partially disabled as it also relies heavily on NetBIOS as a subordinate provider of info.

Again the REAL answer is to use something based on DNS servers. ADS (Active Directory Services) is the Microsoft Enterprise answer. But any DNS server will work...although a DNS server than fuses with DHCP to allow dynamic host/service name registration is much nicer for network maintenance.

  • Of course to be able to browse the network using the DNS database probably requires ADS type logon (I am think WIndows client can log into Kerebos domains and get partial ADS functionality) or 3rd party browser.
    – user878893
    May 22, 2018 at 5:07
  • 1
    It doesn't makes sense to write a second answer, when you could just have edited your first answer. May 22, 2018 at 5:28

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