Internet vs. Intranet vs. Extranet

Saying this will not be wrong that the Internet has a vast impact on our lives and it has completely changed our lives. The Internet is the first place, where you want to go for searching for your problems and queries. A lot of articles have been written on the Internet, on how to buy goods, how to do this and how to do that.

But what is the Internet and how it performs its functions is the theme of this article? Here the discussion point is What is the Internet, Intranet and Extranet and what are the differences that exist among them?

What is the Internet?

Internet is a clustered system of interrelated computer networks that uses a standard Internet protocol (IP) or transmission control protocol (TCP) network. It is a global network of millions of private, public and organizational network. It carries a massive range of informational resources and data in the form of HTTP (Hypertext Markup language) documents and applications through the World Wide Web (WWW).

Common functions of sharing are email, file sharing, telephony and p2p networks. The Internet has totally reshaped the entire professions of the world. TV channels, cellular companies, newspapers, books, retailers are using website technology to expend their services. Nothing is impossible today. All kinds of verbal communication, social networking, online shopping and financial services are being performed through the Internet.

The extranet and intranet also rely on the internet. First, it was the time period when landline was used as a means for accessing the internet but now with the evaluation in technology, Wi-Fi and other wireless broadband services have been also stepped into the market. It is now the global world of the unlimited network of networks that comprises millions of users across the globe from the public, private, business and other sectors.

It carries and extensive range of data and information that is then distributed across the globe through the system of World Wide Web, file sharing, cloud sharing, telephony, Usenet newsgroups, etc. However, work on the internet was started in the late 80s but it started to get popular in the world in the early 90s. At present, the one-third population of the world is using the internet directly or indirectly. Today it is being used in almost every aspect of luge either it is Ebanking, online shopping, financial services, entertainment, education or anything else. There are seven continents in the world and now the internet is also considered as the eighth continent of the world. There is no central governing body of the internet and it comprises the various autonomous networks that operate as a medium of interconnection.


What is Intranet?

An intranet is a computer network system in which specific organizational systems share information, computing services and operational systems with each other by using an Internet (IP) technology. This term basically refers to the network of a specific organization. You can also say it a private network.

Authenticated users of the organization can access the database system, search engines, directory and can distribute documents and workflow. Employees can make interactive communication in the shape of chatting, audio and videoconferencing, groupware and teleconferencing. The benefits of Intranet is that low development and maintenance cost arises on this setup. It is also a means of a friendly environment and speedily sharing of secret information on time.

It is also the type of internet that is restricted to the internal environment of an organization only. The internal IT system of an organization is the best example of an intranet. In that’s way, the intranet has very limited functionalities in terms of the geographical area. The company where intranet is being used on its own creates the main point for internal communication and collaboration systems that can be accessed by authorized persons only. It although utilizes the technologies of wide-area networks and local area networks but still the employees of an organization remain its only users.

Intranet started to grow across the world after the internet when some large organizations started to develop their own internal internet system that was later on named as an intranet. The main aim of the intranet is to ensure secure collaboration, communication and team working in any organization. Unlike the internet that is maintained by the autonomous network providers, the intranet is managed and maintained by the CIO, HR or communication department of an organization. According to the research of the Intranet Design Annual, the users of the intranet are gradually increasing as it provides more security and privacy to the large enterprises as compared to the open public internet.


What is Extranet?

The term Extranet is linked with Intranet. An extranet is a kind of computer network that allows the outside users to access the Intranet of the organization. This network system is basically used for business to business (B2B) purposes. This system basically allows the outside users of an organization, like partners, suppliers, vendors and other stakeholders to remain in touch with the activities of the organization. Information and data access performed through a proper account or link system.

This is the best network system to keep in touch with market position and share a large amount of data to partners in a timely manner. Moreover, conducting new training programs and discussing the product catalogs with partners can be easily done without bearing too much cost of traveling. An extranet is a next stage in the intranet. It has also very restricted users but as compared to intranet it has a more opened environment.

When the usage of the internet remains restricted to the internal environment of an organization only it is called as intranet but when the customers and other outsiders like the stakeholders of an organization also join this system then this system becomes the extranet. The users in case of extranet also remain very limited but in this system, there remains some involvement of the outsiders that are directly connected with any business. After setting the extranet, the users can then send private messages by using the public network system through the most enhanced encryption and security technologies.

The information in all ways is accessible through the intranet of an organization. If the intranet is derivate from the internet then extranet is derivate from the intranet. At first, this term was used as a channel of communication between two organizations only. After that authorized vendors and suppliers started to join this system after their permission of the respective organizations. It has its own data transfer system named Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) that provides the system of exchanging the large volume of data.


Key Differences between Internet and Intranet and Extranet

  1. The first difference between all is a matter of availability. Internet is a global network system and is available to all while Intranet and Extranet are available to the limited inside and outside users of the organization.
  2. Intranet and Extranet are more secure than the Internet because having an Intranet or Extranet network system means the organization has created a firewall against outsiders. Accessing any information on the Internet is not much difficult today.
  3. The general public is the use of the Internet so it can be called a public network while business persons and organizations are the users of Intranet and Extranet and can be called private networks.
  4. The Internet can be accessed without having a user account. While user account is the first important condition in the case of Intranet and Extranet.
  5. The Internet has no hard and fast policies while there is a complete organization policy behind the setup of the Intranet and Extranet.
  6. Both intranet and extranet or more secure as compared to the internet because these are based according to the policies of the organizations. The business of their own decision to grant access to the others in case of intranet and extranet.
  7. The business and organizations are the only users of intranet and extranet while the internet is the global communication system.
  8. The Internet is managed by the autonomous networks while extranet and intranet are managed and maintained by the CIO, HR or communication department of an organization.
  9. The Internet is economical as compared to the intranet and extranet because these two require special set up the cost. Both of these required special software, hardware and employee training cost to be familiar with the special IT environment.
  10. If the intranet is derivate from the internet then extranet is derivate from the intranet.
  11. The Internet works as a channel of communication and collaboration in the internal environment of an organization only while extranet work as a channel of communication and collaboration in both the internal and external environment of an organization.
  12. An intranet is more secure as compared to internet and extranet because both of these involve the number of users.
  13. Both intranet and extranet depend on the internet.

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