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Xerox Network Systems (XNS) is a set of protocols that were used by Xerox Systems for data communication. Xerox used XNS for file transfers, sharing network resources, packet transfers, sharing routing information and remote procedure calls. Its basic working mechanism is almost the same as in the TCP/IP protocol suit, but XNS contains only two network layers. This differs from the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, although the functionality is basically the same.
XNS was a public domain technology and therefore became one of the most commonly used networking technologies through 1980s. It was replaced by the Internet Protocol suite.
The XNS protocol suite became very popular right after its launch in the early 1980s and has been used by many local area networks, particularly for large companies. Over time, changes were made the the protocol structure to create a more efficient output.
XNS contains two major layers, a network layer and a transport layer. The network layer provides the packet-carrying service and logical addressing. XNS was developed for many purposes, such as office applications, transmissions, communication media and processors. There is an echo protocol inside the XNS suite, which works as a door knocker, checking the connectivity between the two systems. This is similar to ping in IP systems.