Network services are the foundation of a networked computing environment. Generally network services are installed on one or more servers to provide shared resources to client computers.
Network services are configured on corporate LAN’s to ensure security and user friendly operation. They help the LAN run smoothly and efficiently. Corporate LANs use network services such as DNS (Domain Name System) to give names to IP and MAC addresses (people remember names like “nm.lan” better than they remember numbers like “188.8.131.52”), and DHCP to ensure that everyone on the network has a valid IP address.
DHCP eases administrative burden by automating the IP assignment of nodes on the network. Adding or removing nodes from the network doesn’t create problems with IP address retrieval; the DHCP service handles this automatically. Authentication servers are another network service, they allow every user to have their own account, and everything they do on that account is logged under their user name. This means that not only are users accountable for anything they do while on the network, but also it increases security as anyone wanting to access the LAN must have a registered user name and password.
Doing network administration without having user accounts to track user activity (illegal or otherwise) or DHCP to automate IP assignment to nodes, or DNS to simplify IP address access would be troublesome indeed. Enabling these few network services automates complex and time consuming administration to the network, and thus eases downtime for network administrators.
Email, printing and network file sharing services are also network services. They are seldom not used in a LAN environment, as they allow users to access any printer connected to the network, files on the server or other nodes connected, and streamline data transfer within the network. They require users to have permissions to access the resources shared, and are simple to configure security and access rights for, with the directory service- also a network service.
Common network services include:
- Authentication servers
- Directory services
- Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
- Network file system