Network operating system

Network operating system

A networking operating system (NOS), also referred to as the Dialoguer,[1] is the software that runs on a server and enables the server to manage data, users, groups, security, applications, and other networking functions.[2] The network operating system is designed to allow shared file and printer access among multiple computers in a network, typically a local area network (LAN), a private network or to other networks. The most popular network operating systems are Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X, and Novell NetWare.



Network Operating Systems are based on a client/server architecture in which a server enables multiple clients to share resources.[2]

The Network Operating System can also do the following:

  • Centrally manage network resources, such as programs, data and devices.
  • Secure access to a network.
  • Allow remote users to connect to a network.
  • Allow users to connect to other networks like the Internet.
  • Back up data and make sure it's always available.
  • Allow for simple additions of clients and resources.
  • Monitor the status and functionality of network elements.
  • Distribute programs and software updates to clients.
  • Ensure efficient use of a server's capabilities.


Use in Routers

Network Operating Systems (NOS) are embedded in a router or hardware firewall that operates the functions in the network layer (layer 3) of the OSI model.[1]


In a Peer-to-peer network operating system users are allowed to share resources and files located on their computers and access shared resources from others. This system is not based with having a file server or centralized management source. A peer-to-peer network sets all connected computers equal; they all share the same abilities to utilize resources available on the network.[3]

  • Examples:
    • AppleShare used for networking connecting Apple products.
    • Windows for Workgroups used for networking peer-to-peer windows computers.
    • Lantastic


  • Ease of setup
  • Less hardware needed, no server needs to be purchased.


  • No central location for storage.
  • Lack of security that a client/server type offers.


Client/server network operating systems allow the network to centralize functions and applications in one or more dedicated file servers. The server is the center of the system, allowing access to resources and instituting security. The network operating system provides the mechanism to integrate all the components on a network to allow multiple users to simultaneously share the same resources regardless of physical location.[3][4]


  • Centralized servers are more stable.
  • Security is provided through the server.
  • New technology and hardware can be easily integrated into the system.
  • Servers are able to be accessed remotely from different locations and types of systems.


  • Cost of buying and running a server are high.
  • Dependence on a central location for operation.
  • Requires regular maintenance and updates.

See also

  • Network Computer Operating System


  1. ^ a b Al-Shawakfa, Emad; Evens, Martha (2001). "The Dialoguer: An Interactive Bilingual Interface to a Network Operating System.", Expert Systems Vol. 18 Issue 3, p131, 19p, Retrieved 5/7/2011.
  2. ^ a b c Dean, Tamara (2009). "Network Operating Systems", Network+ Guide to Networks, 421(483).
  3. ^ a b Winkelman, Dr. Roy (2009). "Chapter 6: Software", An Educator's Guide to School Networks, 6.
  4. ^ Davis, Ziff (2011). "network operating system", PCmag.comRetrieved 5/7/2011.


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