Networking Features in Windows

The first of Microsoft’s operating systems had little network support, although Windows NT was developed to function in a network. In today’s Windows, there is broad support for network tasks in the input/output system and the Windows API.

The common task for a network application is to take a request from an application on one computer and send it to another computer. The remote computer then performs the request and sends back the result.

An operating system hence needs services that enable communication between computers. A Windows operating system has networking software just for this purpose.

There are four types of networking software in Windows:

· Network services
· Network APIs
· Protocols
· Drivers

Network Services

Windows has several network services based on the API components. Two of these are Remote Access and Active Directory.

Remote Access

Remote Access allows clients to associate a connection to servers so that they can obtain resources via a network connection. This may be resources on a server such as files, printers and network services. Windows allows two types of remote access, which are a dial-up connection and a Virtual Private Network (VPN). 

A dial-up connection allows clients to connect to a server via telephone lines or a similar infrastructure. Dial-up is a temporary physical or virtual connection between a client and a server. 

Remote Access with VPN establishes a connection to a server over an IP network such as the Internet. You can log on with VPN to a server in local network from anywhere in the world via the Internet. 

Active Directory

Active Directory is a tool used to manage a local network using a Windows Server operating system, and is a directory that provides an overview of all users and all devices in the network. With Active Directory, a network administrator organizes users and computers in groups. In large networks, it is necessary for group users and computers to maintain an overview of the network. Active Directory makes it possible to manage very large networks with up to millions of users.


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