Difference between Internet Intranet and Extranet

Internet vs Intranet vs Extranet

Computer networks differ from each other according to their topology. Each type of network has its own characteristics which provide the desired level of service to the public. There are three complete types of networks, Internet, Intranet and Extranet. Each network shares the same communication technologies. They differ in size, access levels and the nature of the users.

The Internet

The Internet is a "public network" with thousands of computers (servers and clients) interconnected to share information. Clusters of computer networks are interconnected to build the network worldwide. There is no centralized controller to control communication. It is based on network devices and protocols (Ex routing protocols) previously agreed. Any user can access the Internet through an Internet service provider. Generally, the Internet is neither regulated nor censored, but some countries impose restrictions on Internet access for their citizens. Although there is no centralized entity to control, ICANN (Internet Company for Assigned Names and Numbers) manages Internet Protocol addresses and domain names.


The intranet is a "private network" with a limited number of computers interconnected and controlled in a defined manner. The intranet is configured and controlled by an organization to ensure a secure and uninterrupted connection between members in order to exchange information more effectively. Organization requirements may include sharing the latest news updates, management information, organizational changes, new policies and procedures, etc.

The intranet is very similar to the Internet, but it is isolated from the outside world. Firewalls are used to connect the intranet to the outside world when it needs to be connected to the Internet. It uses the same protocols as TCP / IP. The size of the intranet depends on the requirements of the organization. It can span a building, a region or a country. In addition, many multinationals manage intranet networks between countries using dedicated fiber optic connections. The efficiency of communication between network devices is high because the bandwidth is fully allocated to a fixed number of users. There are no frequent traffic spikes, channel outages or offline server situations in the intranet. The intranet can be accessed via the Internet.


The extranet is part of an intranet, also classified in the “private network” category. It is controlled and managed by an organization, in order to provide secure access to the intranet of the outside world. Many companies need their business partners and customers to connect to the Intranet to improve communication and efficiency. Since the intranet only allows internal members to access, external members (partners and customers) use Extranet to access the network. System administration / management can decide which users should authorize via Extranet. Generally, external users have limited access to the intranet.

Extranet not only external users, but sometimes members of the organization itself who may need to access the network via the Internet.

What is the difference between Internet, Intranet and Extranet?

  • In terms of network size, the Internet is the largest with hundreds of thousands of network devices and interconnects. The size of the intranet can range from hundreds to several thousand computers. The extranet is part of the intranet, so it's the smallest.
  • The Internet is a public network. Intranet and Extranet are private networks.
  • Users can access the Internet anonymously. Users must have a valid username / password to access the intranet and extranet.
  • In general, the Internet is neither regulated nor censored. But Intranet / Extranet is governed by the rules of the organization.
  • In the nature of users, the Internet has an unlimited number of anonymous users. Intranet keeps a limited number of predefined users who are internal members of the organization. Extranet users are mainly non-organizational users.

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