15 NOV 2021

Internet vs Intranet vs Extranet: What are the differences?

By Trudo

Let's start with the Internet. What is the Internet?

To put it short, the Internet is the largest network on the planet, where billions of users have easy access to. This network is formed by a very large number of servers and computers which do not have a central server.

All these computers communicate and can have access to each other, but they are not necessarily controlled at a main server point.

This type of network communicates without wires through, obviously, computers, technologies such as Wi-Fi, data centers and servers, satellites, routers and so on.
You might have heard of IP addresses before, that (and TCP) is actually the way all those devices communicate data with each other. The full names go as Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP / IP). These two protocols work together, with the IP giving the device a specific address to where the data can be transferred, and TCP gives the data a route of transmission.

As everything else this kind of network has a lot of pros and cons.

Pros of the internet include:

- Easy internal and external communication
- Reach and low cost of reach to a large variety of markets
- Access to all kinds of information
While cons can be:

- Malware and data theft
- High competition
- Impersonalization

The Internet is something we've heard thousands of times in our lifetimes, but what is it exactly? And how is it different from intranet and extranet? What even are those last two ones? They definitely have very similar words, but they're completely different types of networks, and we will explain in this blog here.

What is intranet?

Differently from the internet (intra instead of inter), intranet functions as a more private form of communication network in a company or an institution. This type of network has all the information that is needed for employees of that said company, documents, business process tools and it can be cloud-based, or it can have on-site or off-site servers.

Intranet has made life a lot easier for companies that do not want to rely on paper records all the time. Nowadays, it’s used for staff information and content management, staff-service tools, communication tools between staff members, project and task management and so on.

Examples of intranet can be IT department management and communication intranet, HR department, corporate intranet and so on.

It has multiple benefits such as:

- Simplified procedure of employee onboarding,
- Building transparency of tasks and management,
- Communication between employees and branches in different locations
The cons can include:

- High costs and complex maintenance,
- Security threats that can leak important company information.

What is Extranet?

Extranet can be a mix of intranet and the internet. It’s not very internal, specified to only employees of a company, and it does not necessarily contain all information about the company. It is a private network that contains information that can be possibly shared with someone else outside of the company, such as different business partners and clients. It’s an established communication method between the business and its outside partners.

The main uses of extranet are collaboration with business partners and communication with customers and customer self service.

Examples of extranet can be healthcare services where doctors can communicate the results or diagnoses with patients through an extranet network, or for example schools where they can help communication between teachers and students, assignments, materials and tests.

Extranet networks can help with improvement