Network Operating Systems

A network operating system (NOS) is a computer operating system designed to manage and perform different functions for connecting computers and devices into a local-area network (LAN). Some popular examples of network operating systems are Windows NT/XP/2000, Sun Solaris, Novell Netware, UNIX, Linux, and IBM OS/2. The main functions of the network operating system are database sharing, managing network, common file systems, and sharing files and hardware devices with one another. 

Prominent features of NOS 

  • It supports basic functions such as protocol and processor support, hardware recognition and multiprocessing of applications.
  • It allows multiple systems to connect, so that they can share files, data, and hardware devices.
  • It provides security features like restrictions, authorizations, authentication, and access control.
  • It offers file, web service, printing, and back-up services.
  • It provides name and directory services management.
  • It offers basic network administration utilities with provisions for remote access and system management.
  • It has inter-networking features like routing, WAN ports, and clustering capabilities

Basic tasks associated with Network Operating Systems

  • System maintenance activities such as back-up services
  • Basic network administration utilities
  • Tasks associated with file management
  • Security monitoring on all resources in the network
  • Setting priority to print jobs in the network.

Learn more about types of operating system here.

Types of Network operating system


Peer-to-peer network operating systems allow users to share resources and files located on their computers and to access shared resources found on other computers. The requirement of harware is less. Also, no server is needed to establish the connection. Its setup process is natural. However, this type of system is less secured and provides no central location for storage. It means each system has its own storage capacity.

Peer-to-peer Network operating system


Client/server network operating systems allow the network to centralize functions and applications in one or more dedicated file servers. The clients run programs and access data that are stored on the server. Examples of servers include web servers, mail servers, and file servers. With these examples, it becomes easy to integrate new technology into the system. In this system, machines can remotely access the server from different locations. However, this system is costly and requires regular maintenance. The data is stored on a centralized server.

Client Server network operating system

In a nutshell, the Peer-to-Peer network model focuses on connectivity to the remote computers, whereas, the Client-Server network model focuses on information sharing.