This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

NetworkStream Class

Provides the underlying stream of data for network access.

Namespace:  System.Net.Sockets
Assembly:  System (in System.dll)

public class NetworkStream : Stream

The NetworkStream class provides methods for sending and receiving data over Stream sockets in blocking mode. For more information about blocking versus nonblocking Sockets, see Using an Asynchronous Client Socket. You can use the NetworkStream class for both synchronous and asynchronous data transfer. For more information about synchronous and asynchronous communication, see Sockets.

To create a NetworkStream, you must provide a connected Socket. You can also specify what FileAccess permission the NetworkStream has over the provided Socket. By default, closing the NetworkStream does not close the provided Socket. If you want the NetworkStream to have permission to close the provided Socket, you must specify true for the value of the ownsSocket parameter.

Use the Write and Read methods for simple single thread synchronous blocking I/O. If you want to process your I/O using separate threads, consider using the BeginWrite and EndWrite methods, or the BeginRead and EndRead methods for communication.

The NetworkStream does not support random access to the network data stream. The value of the CanSeek property, which indicates whether the stream supports seeking, is always false; reading the Position property, reading the Length property, or calling the Seek method will throw a NotSupportedException.

Read and write operations can be performed simultaneously on an instance of the NetworkStream class without the need for synchronization. As long as there is one unique thread for the write operations and one unique thread for the read operations, there will be no cross-interference between read and write threads and no synchronization is required.

The following code example demonstrates how to create a NetworkStream from a connected Stream Socket and perform basic synchronous blocking I/O.

// Examples for constructors that do not specify file permission. 

// Create the NetworkStream for communicating with the remote host.
NetworkStream myNetworkStream;

if (networkStreamOwnsSocket){
     myNetworkStream = new NetworkStream(mySocket, true);          
     myNetworkStream = new NetworkStream(mySocket);     
// Create the NetworkStream for communicating with the remote host.
NetworkStream* myNetworkStream;

if (networkStreamOwnsSocket) {
    myNetworkStream = new NetworkStream(mySocket, true);          
} else {
    myNetworkStream = new NetworkStream(mySocket);     


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0