The native networking protocol, or language, of the BeOS is TCP/IP, the
language of the Internet. The TCP/IP protocol is a worldwide standard, and
is widely implemented on a variety of operating system platforms.
The BeOS Net Server is the core of the BeOS' networking implementation.
While it is possible to extend the network protocols that the BeOS
understands using net_server add-ons, support for TCP/IP is baked right in
from the start.
The BeOS provides a "sockets" network programming interface (the way
that programmers write network-aware applications). You can think of a
socket as a network connection, to transfer a file, receive a web page, or
whatever. The sockets interface is a standard implemented on many other
operating systems, which makes it easier to port network applications from
other operating systems, like Unix and Windows, to the BeOS.
The BeOS Net Server implements the internals of the sockets programming
interface. That's pretty boring, but what's a little more interesting is
that each socket that a programmer creates gets its own thread inside the
Net Server. This means that network connections are always multithreaded,
which leads to better performance when using network applications on the
Another interesting thing about the Net Server is that it loads the
various add-ons for network devices, like Ethernet cards or PPP, and for
network protocols, like AppleTalk (which is included with the BeOS).
Because support for protocols and devices can be added via add-ons, it's
much easier to add support for new protocols or devices, like a new
Ethernet card, than it might be on some other operating systems. Just install
the add-on, click the Restart Networking button, and the
add-on is ready to use -- no rebooting necessary!
Networking is a vital part of the BeOS, and the flexibility and power of
the Net Server make networking easy!