I manage 3 small LANs. The main one is 40 nodes. Two smaller ones that have 15 nodes each are connected to the main LAN via two T-1 lines. Right now we use three Novell NetWare 3.12 servers with a frame 802.3. I heard it would be better to use frame 802.2 and also Ethernet II if we want to use TCP/IP as well as IPX/SPX. Why should I make this change?
-- Ezio Luccini
Yes, you should use a frame 802.2. A packet header in an 802.2 contains additional information to help with routing the packet to its correct destination. Novell realized this issue several years ago when NetWare 4.0 was released and changed the default frame type for IPX to 802.2.
You should also use Ethernet II to run IP. Anything else is a non-standard frame type and not routable outside of your network. Although it is possible to run IPX on Ethernet II, I wouldn't suggest this option.
Your inquiry brings up another item to consider. A router that handles both IP and IPX incurs a higher cost than a router used for IP alone. You would have to purchase a higher (and more expensive) version of IOS to handle multiple protocols. You may need to upgrade the RAM and the flash memory in the router as well.
Since NetWare 3.x has to have IPX to talk, you would need to upgrade to NetWare 5.1 to have a single protocol (i.e. IP) on the entire network. However, having a single protocol has other advantages -- less administrative work and less to troubleshoot when you encounter problems.
This story, "Combine 802.2 with Ethernet II to run IP" was originally published by Network World.