What is a Network Operating System (NOS)?

Network operating systems, for its acronym in English NOS or “Network Operating System”, is the term used to refer to the software that controls and makes possible the interconnection between two or more computers in the form of a network. It allows interconnected users to share software information (files and programs) or hardware resources.

Characteristics of Network Operating Systems

Generally, a network operating system meets the following characteristics:

  • It provides a comfortable interface that facilitates the management of network resources and parameters.
  • It allows centralized management of users that are part of the same network.
  • Connects resources using a wired or wireless (network) connection. The related items are not necessarily computers. Phones and other compatible peripherals can also be integrated.
  • Provides security to users by controlling access to resources and data. Likewise, network operating systems offer a series of security controls such as passwords, fingerprint reader systems, etc.
  • It facilitates the monitoring of the activity carried out through the network.
  • Coordinates the different functions of the connection network (also considering those of the team itself).
  • It allows sharing of the resources of a computer with other members of the network. Thus, it is possible to grant storage or other functions to the rest of the connected computers through a central computer.

Components of Network Operating Systems

The environment of any network operating system is made up of a series of essential components that allow its operation .


It refers to computers with a single-user operating system that has access to connect to a server. Thus, clients are the equipment use to use the different resources offer by a network.


The servers are nothing more than the computers that host the network operating system and allow its administration. The servers have all the necessary resources to use, manage and share the NOS with other clients and even with other servers.


The domain is the term used to refer to the management of the different devices connect to the same network and which, at the same time, are validate to be manage centrally (from the same central computer).

Types of Network Operating Systems

All network operating systems can be classified in different ways. Because of the number of programs they can run, because of the permissions they are capable of granting to users, etc. But, it is more common to classify NOS according to the base operating system.

According to the Operating System

All NOS can be divide into types, depending on the developer of the operating system. Each company offers specific features and a greater or lesser degree of interoperability with Network Operating Systems from other companies. Thus, the types of NOS are:

Windows-based: Those of this type developed for Microsoft environments are characterize by offering their users good interoperability with other sorts of NOS. In addition to various services such as the administration of printing equipment, they are messaging, establishing domains, and establishing security protocols.

Based on Apple: As with the Windows NOS, the software developed by Apple offers a good number of services, although its interoperability in mixed networks may be somewhat more limited.

Based on UNIX: Here come the different software developed for Linux, especially for Ubuntu and Debian distributions. They offer a free software development ecosystem. They also allow a good number of services for both servers and clients. One of their main disadvantages is the fact that they lack graphic environments.

Netware: Developed by Novell, its main advantage is that it maintains good access to file databases, offering security and stability. But, it lacks interoperability with other NOS.

According to its Architecture

They can be exemplified by network architectures that Network Operating Systems establish. Thus, the most common forms in which network operating systems are found are:

Point-To-Point Network Operating Systems

All connect computers are treat under the same hierarchy clients. In these, specific resources, services, and processes are share simultaneously among all and share common access to file storage.

Client/Server Network Operating Systems

In this type of architecture, all users within the network pass through a server. The Network Operating System alone or together with the NOS of each team configure and prioritize the needs and access to a web. In this way, it is possible to establish domains.


A network operating system (NOS) remains an operating system that achieves network resources: basically, an operating system that includes particular purposes for connecting computers and devices to a local area network (LAN).

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