Network Operating Systems

Network Operating Systems Overview

What is a Network Operating System?

A network operating system is an operating system designed to enable workstations and other hardware connected on a local network. Network operating systems exist in contrast with traditional operating systems that are designed for individual machines without network capabilities in mind. The main advantage of a network operating system is that it allows workstations easy access to other machines on the network for the purposes of file and application sharing, or utility access for services like printing.

Businesses use network operating systems to save time on workstation set up as applications can easily be shared to new machines, and utilities like printers won’t have to be set up manually for each workstation.

Network Operating System Features & Capabilities

Network operating systems perform all the essential functions of a traditional operating system, but also offer the following standout features:

  • Application and File Sharing

  • Printer Connectivity

  • Network File Directory

  • Data and user management

Network Operating System Pricing Information

Pricing for network operating systems is dependent on a number of factors, including how many devices are being supported. Additionally, network operating systems are often packaged in with other pieces of hardware, which can affect the overall price of the product. Additionally, there are a number of open source network operating systems that can be utilized for free if you have the infrastructure to manage them yourself.

Network Operating Systems Products

(1-15 of 15) Sorted by Most Reviews


Fortinet’s operating system, FortiOS, is the foundation of the Fortinet Security Fabric, an OS designed to consolidate many technologies and use cases into a simplified, single policy and management framework.

Cisco IOS XR7

Cisco IOS XR7 is a network operating system which the vendor states delivers greater modularity, a simplified networking stack, and cloud-enhanced automation for improved network programmability.

Junos Network Operating System (Junos OS)

Junos is a network operating system, from Juniper Networks.

Cisco IOS

Cisco IOS, presently in its 15th edition, is a network operating system for service providers and enterprises alike.

NVIDIA Cumulus Linux

NVIDIA acquired Cumulus Networks in June 2020 to support its networking division, a network operating system designed to give users a choice of ingredients to power data centers that are accelerated, disaggregated and software-defined to meet the growth in AI, cloud and high performance…

Open Network Linux

Open Network Linux is an open source network operating system, providing businesses with a highly customizable network operating system.


Dent is a Linux based network operating system, which is free to use, and iterated on by an active community of developers.


Graphiant is a venture capital firm partnered startup in the Bay Area, developing its own computer networking technology.


eola is an operating system for experience providers. They enable businesses to automate their processes - from taking bookings to resource management - while significantly increasing revenue. eola allows businesses to manage all day-to-day admin and re-focus on delivering experiences.…

NVIDIA Onyx (formerly Mellanox Onyx)

NVIDIA Onyx (formerly Mellanox Onyx) is a switch operating system, designed for the scale and demands of next-generation data centers. Whether building a robust Ethernet Storage Fabric (ESF), public or private cloud, customers can leverage the flexibility of Onyx to tailor their…


HiSecOS is the latest operating system for Industrial Security Routers, combining performance with robust security. It provides the user with comprehensive security mechanisms to protect networks against attacks and operating errors. Designed to fulfill the requirements of the IEEE1686…

SONiC Network Operating System

SONiC is an open source network operating system based on Linux that runs on switches from multiple vendors and ASICs. SONiC offers a full-suite of network functionality, like BGP and RDMA, that has been production-hardened in the data centers of some of the largest cloud-service…

Arista Extensible Operating System (EOS)

Arista Extensible Operating System (EOS) is a network operating system.


ArubaOS is the network operating system from Aruba Networks, an HPE company. ArubaOS includes AirMatch and ClientMatch, capabilities that monitor and optimize Wi-Fi power, channels, connections and bandwidth across the entire wireless network to improve user experience. Users can…

AlliedWare Plus

AlliedWare™ Plus is a network operating system that aims to deliver the functionality, scalability, performance and reliability.Built on industry standards and with a user interface designed to be understand by any network engineer, AlliedWare Plus is a solution for IoT and SDN-enabled…

Frequently Asked Questions

What businesses benefit most from network operating systems?

There are two primary factors to consider when deciding whether or not you need a network operating system. First is how many workstations your business has, and second is how interconnected they need to be. If you have very few workstations, a network operating system won’t save you much time, similarly, if none of your workstations need to share files or applications, you won’t benefit as much from the network operating system.

Is it worth replacing current operating systems with a network operating system?

When considering a new network operating system, you should consider if your current setup is working well, and if you plan to add many more workstations. If your current setup is working well, it likely isn’t worth it to make a major change. On the flip side, if you are planning on scaling up the number of workstations in your organization, a network operating system can save you a lot of time down the road.

Are there any free or open source network operating systems?

There are a number of open source network operating systems, most often distributions of Linux. These operating systems can be a good choice for businesses that have a skilled IT team capable of implementing and managing the network operating system themselves.