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Definition: file sharing protocol

A high-level network protocol that provides the structure and language for file requests between clients and servers. It provides the commands for opening, reading, writing and closing files across the network and may also provide access to the directory services. Sometimes called a "client/server protocol," it functions at the application layer (layer 7 of the OSI model).

In order for a client to have access to multiple servers running different operating systems, either the client supports the file sharing protocol of each operating system or the server supports the file sharing protocol of each client. Software that adds this capability is very common and allows interoperability between Windows, Mac and Unix platforms. See Samba. See also peer-to-peer network.

   Operating   File Sharing
   System      Protocol

   Windows     CIFS, SMB

   DOS         SMB

   Mac         AFP

   Unix        NFS, Samba

Sharing Files on a Mac
This is part of the Mac sharing dialog that enables Macs to share files with other Macs (AFP) and Windows machines (SMB).