12 Difference Between Internet, Intranet And Extranet (With Comparison Chart)

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The terms internet, intranet and extranet are commonly used on daily basis by different people especially in business transactions; however the difference between them still remains unclear to others. The internet, extranet and intranet all rely on the same TCP/IP technologies. They are only different in terms of the levels of access they allow various users inside and outside the organization and the size of the network. An intranet allows restricted access to only members of a specific organization while an extranet expands that access by allowing non-members such as suppliers and customers to use the company resources. Internet on the other hand, generally allows every Tom, Dick and Harry to access all the network resources.

Internet

An internet is an interconnection of millions of computers together globally, forming a network in which any computer can communicate with any other computer as long as they are both connected to the network. There is no central server that controls the internet. It is a web of networked devices such as routers, computers, repeaters, satellites, WiFi, servers etc constantly communicating across data lines and wireless signals.

No one actually owns the internet, and no single person or organization controls the internet in its entirety. The internet is more of a concept that an actual tangible entity and it relies on a physical infrastructure that connects networks to other networks. Anyone can access the internet using an internet-connected device, such as desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone or tablet.

If you want to share information with a large group of people across the globe the internet is often the easiest option. You can share information through social media, create a website or send an email.

The internet uses the TCP/IP internet protocol for communication. Each device is defined using a unique IP address. Domain name servers (DNS) are then used to assign a name to the IP address therefore making it easy for users to remember names instead of numbers.

What You Need To Know About Internet

  1. Internet can be described as a global system of interconnected computer network.
  2. Internet is the largest network in as far as the number of connected devices is concerned.
  3. Internet is a means of sharing information throughout the world.
  4. It is not regulated by any authority.
  5. Content in the network is readily accessible by everyone who is connected.
  6. Internet has no known ownership.
  7. Internet is unregulated and uncensored.
  8. Users have unrestricted access and can access internet anonymously.
  9. Security is dependent of the user of the device connected to network.
  10. An example of internet is the network you use to google words with.
  11. Internet contains different source of information and is available for all.
  12. Users need no training on how to work with the network.

Advantages Of Internet

  • An internet connection provides many people with ability to work from home or have a virtual office.
  • Internet has made it possible to send and receive information across large matrix of computer systems.
  • With internet one is able to access information quickly and easily.
  • The internet improves internal communications through emails, connected calendars and chat services specifically designed to improve business communications.

Disadvantages Of Internet

  • It is unregulated network and therefore it invites undesirable activities.
  • Access to internet is not restricted and information is available to anyone across the world.
  • If the file server breaks down, the files on the server become inaccessible.
  • There is danger of hacking or availability of malicious viruses.

What Is An Intranet?

An intranet is a private computer network that uses internet protocols, network connectivity to access and share enterprise information and computing resources securely with its staff. Intranets increase communication within an organization by allowing employees to easy access important information, links, applications and forms as well as databases that can provide company records.

In case an organization doesn’t want to leak or share some of its confidential or sensitive information with the general public, the information is normally shared through an intranet to its members (staff). The members of the organization (staff) may access the intranet from their workplace.

Depending on the structure of the intranet, staff (users) may also access the internal network with username and password from an internet-connected device by connecting remotely to the company’s intranet. Usually a remote-access VPN is used for such a purpose to provide an encrypted and secure remote connection. An intranet can be used to facilitate working in groups and teleconferencing.

It is important to note that, just like internet, the intranet uses TCP/IP internet protocol for communication. Intranet also allows the sharing of information via web browser. However, only approved computers can connect to the intranet and view the internal web pages.

What You Need To Know About Intranet

  1. Intranet can be described as a network of computers or a private network designed for a specific group of users (organization).
  2. It is a small network with a few number of connected devices.
  3. Intranet is a means of sharing sensitive or confidential information throughout the organization.
  4. It is regulated by a specific organization.
  5. The content in the network is accessible only to members of the organization.
  6. Ownership of intranet is by a single organization.
  7. Intranet is regulated by the organization policies.
  8. An intranet may be accessible from the internet, but it is protected by a password and accessible only to authorized users.
  9. Security of the network is enforced through a firewall.
  10. An example intranet is a company like ExxonMobil using internal network for its business operations.
  11. Intranet contains only specific group information.
  12. Time is required to train users on how to work with the network.

Benefits of Intranet

  • It reduces emails and meetings
  • Improves employee engagement and knowledge sharing
  • Helps an organization to build an internal collaborative culture.
  • Increases productivity in an organization.
  • With use of intranet, there is reduced incidences and errors
  • Enhances centralized access to information

Disadvantages Of Intranet

  • Intranet can be very costly and time-consuming to implement.
  • Poor user experience results in low usage rates.
  • Hard to measure success and effectiveness.
  • Information can be shared outside the local network due to one faulty or compromised machine.
  • Intranet reduces face-to-face interaction among employees and this can hinder cooperation.
  • Users normally rely on easy to guess passwords and therefore it is easy to compromise the entire network.

What Is An Extranet?

An extranet is a controlled private network allowing customers, partners, vendors, suppliers and other businesses to gain information, typically about a specific company or educational institution and do so without granting access to the organization’s entire network. An extranet is often a private part of a website. It is restricted to selected users through user IDs, passwords and other authentication mechanisms on a login page.

An extranet requires security and privacy. These can include firewall server management, the issuance and use of digital certificates or similar means of user authentication, encryption of messages and the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) that tunnel through the public network.

What You Need To Know About Extranet

  1. Extranet can be described as a private network that uses public network to share information with clients (suppliers and vendors).
  2. It is a small network with a few number of connected devices.
  3. Extranet is a means of conveying information between members of the organization and external members.
  4. It is regulated by multiple organizations.
  5. The content on the network is accessible to members of the organization and external members with access to the network.
  6. Ownership of extranet is by a single or multiple organizations.
  7. Extranet is regulated by contractual agreements between organizations.
  8. An intranet may be accessible from the internet, but it is protected by a password and accessible only to authorized users.
  9. Security of the network is enforced through a firewall that separates internet and extranet.
  10. Example of extranet is when companies like HP, Intel and Lenovo decide to use the same network for related business operations.
  11. Extranet contains only specific group information.
  12. Time is required to train users on how to work with the network.

Advantages Of Extranet

  • An extranet greatly improves flexibility by making applications and information available to customers, clients and partners, allowing all the involved parties to operate with convenience.
  • With proper implementation, an extranet can help improve an organizations security by creating different access levels, consequently controlling who can access company data.
  • It helps to remove bottlenecks within transactions of an organization and significantly increasing productivity.

Disadvantages of Extranet

  • Extranets are vulnerable to security breaches since they give outsiders access to internal database and systems
  • Time is required to train users on how to work with the network.
  • The network is prone misuse.
  • Maintenance cost of the network is high.
  • Information can be shared outside the local network due to one faulty or compromised machine.

Internet Vs Intranet Vs Extranet In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON INTERNET INTRANET EXTRANET
Description Internet can be described as a global system of interconnected computer network.   Intranet can be described as a network of computers or a private network designed for a specific group of users (organization).   Extranet can be described as a private network that uses public network to share information with clients (suppliers and vendors).  
Size Of The Network Internet is the largest network in as far as the number of connected devices is concerned.   It is a small network with a few number of connected devices.   It is a small network with a few number of connected devices.  
Purpose Internet is a means of sharing information throughout the world.   Intranet is a means of sharing sensitive or confidential information throughout the organization.   Extranet is a means of conveying information between members of the organization and external members.  
Regulation It is not regulated by any authority.   It is regulated by a specific organization.   It is regulated by multiple organizations.  
Content On The Network Content in the network is readily accessible by everyone who is connected.   The content in the network is accessible only to members of the organization.   The content on the network is accessible to members of the organization and external members with access to the network.  
Ownership Internet has no known ownership.   Ownership of intranet is by a single organization.   Ownership of extranet is by a single or multiple organizations.  
Mechanism Of Regulation Internet is unregulated and uncensored.   Intranet is regulated by the organization policies.   Extranet is also regulated by contractual agreements between organizations.  
Access Users have unrestricted access and can access internet anonymously.   An intranet may be accessible from the internet, but it is protected by a password and accessible only to authorized users.   An intranet may be accessible from the internet, but it is protected by a password and accessible only to authorized users.  
Security Security is dependent of the user of the device connected to network.   Security of the network is enforced through a firewall.   Security of the network is enforced through a firewall that separates internet and extranet.  
Information Internet contains different source of information and is available for all.   Intranet contains only specific group information.   Extranet contains only specific group information.  
User Training Users need no training on how to work with the network.   Time is required to train users on how to work with the network.   Time is required to train users on how to work with the network.  
Example An example of internet is the network you use to google words with.   An example intranet is a company like ExxonMobil using internal network for its business operations.   Example of extranet is when companies like HP, Intel and Lenovo decide to use the same network for related business operations.