Xerox Network Systems


Xerox Network Systems (XNS) is a computer networking protocol developed by Xerox Corporation in the late 1970s. It was used to connect computers, printers, and servers in a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN). XNS introduced important concepts used widely in modern network design, including broadcasting, Ethernet, and routing protocol.


The phonetics of the keyword “Xerox Network Systems” is as follows: Zee-rahks Net-wurk Sis-tuhms.

Key Takeaways

1. Advanced Networking Technology: Xerox Network Systems (XNS) is widely recognized for its advanced networking technology. This model was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, providing some of the first principles behind internetworking. It introduced ground-breaking elements such as a standard way to represent text and data. Its concepts served as basis for the creation of other, highly influential network protocols.

2. Influential in Creation of Ethernet: Xerox Network Systems played a key role in the development and proliferation of Ethernet – a technology that forms the basis of most local area networks (LANs) today. This was part of XNS’s overall comprehensive approach to network architecture, providing end-to-end connectivity and services.

3. Early Implementation of Client-Server Model: XNS was one of the early implementers of the client-server model and also supported network applications such as email, file transfer and remote procedure calls. Its architecture and suite of protocols paved the way for advancements in distributed computing and networked systems.


Xerox Network Systems (XNS) is significant in technological history as it played a key role in the development and standardization of networking protocols. XNS, developed by Xerox in the 1970s, established architectural frameworks for network functionality, which included internetworking protocols, routing protocols, and transport protocols. This paved the way for future networking systems and was instrumental in the creation of Ethernet technologies. As such, XNS contributed substantially to the evolution of computer networking and the Internet as we know it today. It has influenced crucial areas in modern technology, including data communication, system design, and the digital connectivity of devices.


Xerox Network Systems (XNS) is a protocol suite developed by Xerox Corporation, intended to provide data communication in both local and wide area networks. This comprehensive networking technology was conceived to promote easy, efficient, and rapid communication within and between different computers and systems. The main purpose of XNS is to establish and manage communication sessions, facilitating the exchange of digital information between different pieces of networked hardware such as printers, computers, servers, storage devices, etc.XNS is largely characterized by its client-server model, which promotes efficient data handling and resource sharing. Each function or service within a network is provided by standalone modules or servers which are addressed by other clients needing said services, leading to an efficient allocation and utilization of computing resources. For instance, a print server in a network accepts print requests from different client computers and sends the print job to the suitable printer, thereby ensuring that each operation in the network is carried out in a coordinated and structured manner. The client-server model also facilitates centralized management, which makes the network easier to control and troubleshoot.


1. Xerox Star Workstation: The Xerox Star was one of the earliest computer workstations that utilized the Xerox Network System (XNS) introduced by Xerox in 1981. It utilized a graphical user interface and was able to connect to other computers through the XNS, setting a blueprint for modern computer operations.2. Xerox Alto: The Xerox Alto was an early minicomputer that was also connected through the Xerox Network Systems. The Alto, which was first introduced in 1973, was used to build the world’s first local area network, the Ethernet, which also used XNS as its primary protocol.3. Xerox Printer Networks: Xerox Corporation’s office printers are often networked via the Xerox Network Systems as they allow multiple users to send printing tasks from their devices to a shared printer. Using Xerox Network Systems, these machines are equipped to receive, process, and queue tasks allowing for efficient workflow in offices.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q: What is Xerox Network Systems (XNS)?**A: Xerox Network Systems, also known as XNS, is a protocol stack for network communication that was developed by Xerox Corporation. It introduced many concepts that are used in modern network systems including routing, Ethernet, and the concept of a networking stack. **Q: When was XNS developed?**A: XNS was developed in the 1970s by Robert Metcalfe, an inventor and engineer at Xerox.**Q: What made XNS unique?**A: The XNS introduced several new concepts that are used in modern network communication systems including the Ethernet, which allows for the connection of several computers to a single network.**Q: Is XNS still in use today?**A: While XNS influenced many other network protocols and systems, it is not widely used today. Its main concepts, however, underpin many of the features of modern network systems like TCP/IP.**Q: What are some of the core technologies in XNS?**A: XNS introduced Ethernet and a protocol stack defining layers such as the interface, internetwork, and transport layers. **Q: Did XNS influence other technology or systems?**A: Yes, XNS had a profound effect on networking technology and systems, particularly through its influence on Internet Protocol Suite and Novell’s Internetwork Packet Exchange.**Q: Who developed XNS?**A: XNS was developed by a team led by Robert Metcalfe at Xerox Corporation in the 1970s.**Q: Does XNS have a role in modern networking environment?**A: Although not directly used, many of the principles and designs implemented in XNS are still relevant and form the basis of many of the networking concepts and systems we use today. **Q: How important was XNS in the evolution of network technology?**A: It was extremely important. The XNS laid the groundwork for the development of network technology, specifically the Ethernet, and inspired many current network protocols.

Related Tech Terms

  • XNS Protocol: It is a network protocol suite developed by Xerox Corporation to provide networking services.
  • Internetwork Datagram: It is a part of XNS protocol which provides a fast but unreliable data transfer service.
  • Xerox Star: This is a graphical user interface workstation developed by Xerox Corporation.
  • Ethernet: Xerox Network Systems contributed greatly to Ethernet technology that allows for computer networking.
  • Sequoia: Sequoia was a proprietary computer network protocol used by Xerox Network Systems.

Sources for More Information


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