Client Operating Systems (Workstation Operating Systems) and Network Operating Systems - NOS (Server Operating Systems)

You have to understand two key technical terms to move further, "Client" and "Server".

What is a Client Computer? You can think a client as a computer in your network, where a network user is performing some network activity. For Example: Downloading a file from a File Server, Browsing Intranet/Internet etc. The network user normally uses a client computer to perform his day to day work.

What is a Server Computer? The client computer establishes a connection to a Server computer and accesses the services installed on the Server Computer. A Server computer is not meant for a network user to browse the internet or to do spreadsheet data entry work. A Server computer is installed with appropriate Operating System and related Software to serve the network clients with one or more services, continuously without a break 24/7.

An Operating System (also known as "OS") is the most important set of software programs which are loaded initially into any computer-like device by a bootstrap program. Operating System controls almost all the resources in a computer, including networks, data storage, user & user password database, peripheral devices etc.

Operating System products are very complex software products. Operating System Software products are compiled from millions of lines of source code. Operating system products we have currently are created by the hard work of thousands of engineers for decades, internally in a company (Example: Windows) or by dedicated global volunteer communities (Example: GNU/Linux, BSD Unix).

Network Operating Systems - NOS (Server Operating Systems)

A Network Server computer offers its services to a group of Network Client devices. A Server computer typically has more computing resources like Processors & Processing Power, more Physical Memory (RAM), more Storage Space etc., compared to client computers. The Server computer machine runs on Server Operating System, also called as Network Operating System (NOS), which normally has more features and processing capabilities compared with the client computer's Operating System. The server may be installed with special software, to function as a Server Role. The special software allows a Server Computer to function a particular server role, like a File Server, Web Server, Mail Server, Directory Server etc.

A Network Operating System (NOS) includes much more capabilities than a normal client workstation (or Desktop) Operating System. Most popular Network Operating Systems are listed below.

Microsoft Windows Server 2012

Microsoft Windows Server 2016

Microsoft Windows Server 2019 (Current)

• Unix (Oracle Solaris, IBM AIX, HP UX, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Xinuos Open Server/SCO Unix etc.)

• GNU/Linux (RedHat Enterprise Linux, Debian Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Server, CentOS Server, Fedora Server etc.

Client Operating Systems (Workstation Operating Systems, or Desktop Operating Systems)

Most popular Client Workstation Operating Systems are listed below.

• Windows 95/98/ME Vista (obsolete)

• Windows NT Workstation / Windows 2000 Professional (obsolete)

• Windows XP (obsolete)

• Windows 7 (obsolete)

• Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 (obsolete)

• Windows 10 Desktop (Current)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop

Ubuntu Desktop


Fedora Workstation

elementary OS

Click the below logos to visit the respective Operating System vendor's website. Most of the Operating System vendors have product trial downloads and related documentation. Download trial versions and get familiar with their products. Start learning the installation of different Client and Server Operating Systems by downloading trial versions from below links.

Windows Server Logo Oracle Solaris Logo
FreeBSD Logo NetBSD Logo
OpenBSD Logo  Xinuos Logo
RedHat Linux Logo Debian Linux Logo
SuSe Linux Logo Ubuntu Linux Logo
CentOS Linux Logo elementary OS Logo
LinuxMint Linux Logo Fedora Linux Logo


Related Tutorials
Introduction to Computer Networking
Responsibilities of a network engineer
What is a Computer Network?
Why we need computer networks?
Different types devices used to create a computer network
Common Network Application Software
Local Area Networks (LAN) and Wide Area Networks (WAN)
Campus Area Networks (CAN) and Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
Logical Classification of Computer Networks - Peer to Peer Networks and Client/Server Networks
Logical Classification of Computer Networks - Centralized and Distributed Computer Network Models
Internetworks, Internet, Intranet and Extranet
What is a Network Protocol
Difference between Proprietary and Standard Protocols
What are RFCs (Request for Comments)
Organizations which control Internet, Network Protocols and Standards
What is network topology
Difference between physical topology and logical topology
Network Topologies - Bus Topology
Network Topologies - Star Topology
Network Topologies - Mesh, Ring and Hybrid Topologies
Network Topologies - Partial-Mesh Topology
Network Topologies - Full-Mesh Topology
Advantages and disadvantages of full-mesh topology
Network Topologies - Ring Topology
Network Topologies - Dual Ring Topology
Network Topologies - Hybrid Topology
Network Topologies - Tree Topology
Point-to-point Topology and Point-to-multipoint Topology
What are wireless networks? Advantages and disadvantages of wireless networks.
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Site-to-Site Network Topologies - Hub and Spoke Toplogy
Site-to-Site Network Topologies - Partial-Mesh Toplogy
Site-to-Site Network Topologies - Full Mesh Topology
What is NIC (Network Interface Card)
Common Network Cable types
Differences between STP and UTP twisted pair cables
Twisted pair cable bandwidth and frequency range
Different types of shields used in STP (shielded twisted pair cable)
TIA/EIA 568A and TIA/EIA-568B standards
Straight-Through and Cross-Over cables
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IEEE 802.11 Standards
LAN Technologies - Ethernet
Ethernet Media Standards
100Base-TX Ethernet Media Standard
100Base-FX Ethernet Media Standard
4D-PAM5 encoding in Gigabit Ethernet
1000Base-T Ethernet Media Standard
1000Base-SX Ethernet Media Standard
1000Base-LX Ethernet Media Standard
10GBase-T 10 Gigabit Ethernet Media Standard
10GBase-SR 10 Gigabit Optical Fiber Ethernet Media Standard
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Twisted pair Cable categories for 1 Gigbit and 10 Gigabit networks
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LAN Technologies - Token Ring
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Single Mode Fiber Optic Cable (SMF fiber cable)
Multimode Fiber Optic Cable (MMF fiber cable)
Different types of fiber optic cables
Fiber optic transceivers
Fiber optic connectors
LAN Technologies - Fibre Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)