If you are curious about how different an intranet is, from the Internet, this article will be illuminating. Through a comparison, this write-up points out the differences between these two types of networks.
The age of information technology owes everything to the development of computer networking. It’s the linking up of computers on ever-widening scales, that has turned our long sought after dream of making the world’s knowledge freely accessible, into reality. If all computer networks are arranged in ascending order of complexity and scaling, two types of networks will lie at extreme ends. One is, of course, the ‘Internet‘ and the other, which may be functional in your company, is an ‘Intranet‘.
Intranet Vs. Internet Comparison
Computer networking forms the fundamental basis of intranet and Internet. It enables the sharing of resources and information among a group of computers. The first operational computer network was created for the United States Department of Defense and was known as ‘Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). Since then, networking technology and architecture evolved in complexity and sophistication, to provide us with the internet. The synergy of advanced network computing hardware and sophisticated networking software based on Internet protocols has made this possible. As you will see ahead, an intranet and the Internet are two widely separated points on the scale of networking complexity, which serve to provide the most efficient form of information and resource sharing.
The intranet is an internal private computer network or connection of one or more computer networks, whose use and access is restricted to an organization and its employees or members. These kinds of networks are used for ease of information sharing and communication in companies. In industries, based on information technology, intranets are absolutely necessary, as their work involves a high degree of data sharing and collaboration among computer users. Such an intranet mostly operates through a website, run by a local server, acting as a resource sharing medium. You could call it a scaled-down private Internet. Transfer of data over such a private website based network may be controlled using the Internet protocols like HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). However, not all intranets use private websites. There may be organizations where intranets are meant for pure file sharing, with no private website or Internet protocol use required.
The very fact that you are accessing information through the Internet, demonstrates that you already have an idea about what the Internet or ‘International Network’ can do for you. Take small networks spread in a small region of your city, then integrate them with other such small networks to form local area networks (LANs). Then integrate all such local area networks to form a wide area network of computers. Next, integrate such wide area networks (WANs) into a national network. Subsequently, join all such national networks together. What you ultimately end up with, is the Internet! It is a single network that connects computers all over the world using Internet protocols, which make information sharing and routing possible. The main point of difference between intranet and Internet is the following. While intranet involves the networking of a few hundred computers, Internet is a network of more than billion computers spread worldwide! It uses an ever improving set of Internet protocols (HTTP, FTP, SMTP, etc.) to transfer data. Unlike the intranet, the Internet and the information sharing service called the ‘World Wide Web’, which we operate on, cannot function without these protocols.
Structure, Scale & Complexity
The structure of an intranet is similar in principle to the Internet. Both use a server-client structure and both networks transfer data using Internet protocols. However, they fundamentally differ due to the vast difference in networking scale and complexity.
With billions of computers sharing and transferring data amongst each other, the administration of the Internet is far more complex, as it is the mother of all computer networks. A large amount of networking and routing hardware is needed to connect all the computers worldwide. On the other hand, an intranet, being restricted to a few computers is easier to manage.