6.Network Software

Defining Network Operating System?

Network OS are different from the ones we regularly use on our desktops or laptops. They are designed  for multiple computers. Multiple machines spread in network use the server so server or Network OS should be capable of handling and serving multiple, also it acts as a director to keep the network running smoothly.

The two major types of network operating systems are:

  • Peer-to-Peer
  • Client/Server

Nearly all modern networks are a combination of both. The networking design can be considered independent of the servers and workstations that will share it.


In a peer-to-peer network, all computers are considered equal; they all have the same abilities to use the resources available on the network
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. However, they do not have a file server or a centralized management source . 
Peer-to-peer networks are designed primarily for small to medium local area networks. Nearly all modern desktop operating systems, such as Linux, Macintosh OSX  and Windows, can function as peer-to-peer network operating systems.

peer to peer networking

 Peer-to-peer network

Advantages of a peer-to-peer network:

  • Setup – An operating system (such as Windows XP) already in place may only need to be reconfigured for peer-to-peer operations.
  • Less initial expense – No need for a dedicated server.

Disadvantages of a peer-to-peer network:

  • Security – Does not provide the security available on a client/server network
  • Decentralized – No central repository for files and applications.


Client/server network OS allow the network to centralize functions and applications in one or more dedicated file servers . The file servers become the heart of the system, providing access to resources and providing security. Individual clients (workstations) have access to the resources available on the file servers. The network OS provides the mechanism to integrate all the components of the network and allow multiple users to simultaneously share the same resources irrespective of physical location. UNIX/Linux and the Microsoft family of Windows Servers are examples of client/server network operating systems.

client server networking archtecture

Advantages of a client/server network:

  • Flexibility – New technology can be easily integrated into system.
  • Interoperability – All components (client/network/server) work together.
  • Centralized – Resources and data security are controlled through the server.
  • Scalability – Any or all elements can be replaced individually as needs increase.
  • Accessibility – Server can be accessed remotely and across multiple platforms.

Disadvantages of a client/server network:

  • Dependence – When server goes down, operations will cease across the network.
  • Expense – Installment for first time for dedicated server
  • Maintenance – Large networks will require a staff to ensure efficient operation.

Network Operating System Software

Some of very common operating systems can be downloaded from below links.

This entry was posted in computernetworking. Bookmark the permalink.