This paper presents a paradigm for remote file access called Smart File Objects (SFOs). The SFO is a realization of the ELFS (Extensible File Systems) concept of files as typed objects, but it is applied to wide-area networks (J. Karpovich et al., in “Proceedings of the 9th OOPLSA,” 1994). The SFO is an object-oriented application- specific file access paradigm designed to address the bottleneck imposed by high latency, low bandwidth, unpredictable, and unreliable networks such as the current Internet. Newly emerging network applications such as multimedia, metacomputing, and collaboratories will have different sensitivities to these network “features.” These applications will require a more flexible file access mechanism than what is provided by conventional distributed file systems. The SFO uses application and network information to adaptively prefetch and cache needed data in parallel with the execution of the application to mitigate the impact of the network. Preliminary results indicate that the SFO can provide substantial performance gains for network applications.