What Is A Network Operating System?

A network operating system (NOS) is a type of computer operating system (OS) that is primarily designed to handle workstations, personal computers, and, in some cases, older terminals connected to a local area network (LAN). The software that powers a NOS enables various devices in a network to communicate and share resources.

A typical NOS configuration contains a number of personal computers, a printer, a server, and a file server, all of which are connected by a local network. In a multiuser environment, the NOS’s function is to provide fundamental network services and capabilities that handle numerous input requests at the same time.

Network operating systems arose as a solution for single-user computers as earlier versions of basic operating systems were not designed for network use.

(1)What Is Network Operating Systems

The peer-to-peer NOS and the client/server NOS are the two most common types of network operating systems:

Users can share network resources saved in a shared, accessible network place using peer-to-peer network operating systems. All devices are considered similarly in terms of functionality under this design. Peer-to-peer networking is best suited for small to medium LANs and is less expensive to set up.
Users can access resources through a server using client/server network operating systems. All services and applications are united under one file server in this design, which may be used to execute specific client activities independent of location. Client/server is the most expensive to set up and maintain, and it necessitates a lot of technical support. The client/server architecture has the advantage of being able to control the network from a central location, making updates and additions to technology easier to implement.

(2)Features of Network Operating Systems

User administration, system maintenance, and resource management functionality are all common features of network operating systems. This includes the following:

Protocol and processor support, device identification, and multiprocessing are all systems of basic operating system support.
Sharing a printer and an application.
Sharing a common file system and a database
User authentication and access control are examples of network security features.
Web services and directory backup
Internetworking.

(3)Network Operating Systems Examples

True network operating systems are software that extends the capability of operating systems by adding network capabilities. The following are some examples of network operating systems and associated service providers:

The LANtastic NOS from Artisoft is a basic, user-friendly NOS that works with most PC operating systems.
VINES by Banyan is a client-server application that allows users to request specific operations and services.
NetWare from Novell was the first network operating system to be published, and it was built using the XNS protocol architecture.
Microsoft’s LAN Manager is a server application that was created to run on the Microsoft operating system. The majority of LAN Manager’s functionality is already built into the Windows operating system.

Furthermore, some multi-purpose operating systems, such as Windows NT and Digital’s OpenVMS, include network capabilities that allow them to be classified as such. Furthermore, the most common operating systems, such as Windows, Unix, Linux, and Mac, come with built-in networking features that may not necessitate the use of extra network services.