intranet

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intranet

Computing an internal network that makes use of internet technology

intranet

[′in·trə‚net]
(computer science)
A private network, based on Internet protocols, that is accessible only within an organization. Intranets are set up for many purposes, including e-mail, access to corporate databases and documents, and videoconferencing, as well as buying and selling goods and services.

intranet

(networking)
Any network which provides similar services within an organisation to those provided by the Internet outside it but which is not necessarily connected to the Internet. The commonest example is the use by a company of one or more World-Wide Web servers on an internal TCP/IP network for distribution of information within the company.

Since about 1995, intranets have become a major growth area in corporate computing due to the availability of cheap or free commercial browser and web server software which allows them to provide a simple, uniform hypertext interface to many kinds of information and application programs.

Some companies give limited access to their intranets to other companies or the general public. This is known as an "extranet".

intranet

An inhouse website that serves employees only, and most medium-sized and large companies have one. Although intranet pages may have links to websites on the Internet, the intranet is not exposed to, or is accessed by, the general public. It provides a standard way to publish company policy, news, schedules, medical and insurance forms and training manuals. The intranet is also a venue for publishing blogs, wikis and social activities such as sports and exercise schedules.

Since the Web browser is the primary interface, intranets offer cross-platform support between Windows, Mac and Linux desktops.

An Internal Web
Intranets use the same HTTP server (Web server) technology, protocols and hypertext links as the public Web. Like all the organization's internal databases, the intranet server resides within the local network (LAN) inside the firewall and fortified from the outside world. See HTTP, firewall and LAN.

A Tongue Twister
For anyone discussing intranets, the terms intra-net and Inter-net must be pronounced very carefully to avoid confusion. The term was more popular in the mid-1990s, but it is still used. Contrast with extranet. See LAN, website, Web server and Internet.