Features of Network Operating Systems

By Scott Yoder

A network operating system is a software application that provides a platform for both the functionality of an individual computer and for multiple computers within an interconnected network. Basically, a network operating system controls other software and computer hardware to run applications, share resources, protect data and establish communication. Individual computers run client operating systems, while network systems create the software infrastructure for wireless, local and wide area networks to function.

Basic Operating Features

Network operating systems support the basic underlying operating features of networks. These include support for processors and the various protocols that allow computers to share data. Many network operating systems can detect hardware within the system to allow for asset discovery within the network. Also, network operating systems support the processing of other software applications that run on both individual computers and within the network.

Security Features

Network operating systems support a number of security features that control access to the network. These include authorization and permission for access to the network, with specific control of features such as user management, log-on controls and passwords. Systems also provide access control for features such as remote access and network monitoring.


A network operating system is the platform on which computer networking takes place. Basic features allow for file, print and Internet connections. Data backup and replication functions are controlled through the network operating system. The management of connective systems for local and wide area networks (LANs and WANs), such as routing, switches and other ports are configured and managed through network operating system features.

Administrative Interface

One of the features of a network operating system is that it has an administrative interface that allows a network administrator to monitor and maintain the system. This interface will have a menu that allows the administrator to perform functions such as formatting hard drives and setting up security protocols for both the system and individual users. He can also and configure security and data backup requirements for individual computers or the network as a whole.