network operating system (NOS)

Definition of network operating system (NOS) in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is NOS (Network Operating System)?

nos - Also called server operating system, a computer operating system that is network-aware. Network operating systems (NOS’s) typically provide support for features such as the following:

  • File and printer sharing
  • Data security and authentication
  • Distributed applications
  • Messaging
  • Centralized administration

You can use a NOS to create local area networks (LANs) that function as either peer-to-peer networks or server-based networks, depending on your needs and budget. Examples of NOS’s include Microsoft Windows NT, Novell NetWare, and Banyan VINES. Cisco’s Internetwork Operating System (IOS) is an example of a NOS that runs not on computers but on internetworking devices such as routers.