Intranet — the half public Internet

An intranet is a computer network that only a limited number of users can access. From a technical point of view and in terms of scale, an intranet can be considered as "the smaller brother" of the worldwide Internet. The Intranet and Internet both use the same network protocols (HTTP, TCP) and can be viewed using the same browsers. Intranet applications are just as versatile as those used on the World Wide Web. The main difference between the platforms is only the circle of people who have access to the network. While the Internet is defined as a so-called public network, the Intranet can only be used by those people who have been granted access to it through their logon data. This could be, for example, employees of a company, university students or alumni. To use the Intranet, user are issued a username and a password with which they can logon to an internal network.

Where and how can an Intranet be used?

Universities and companies can share confidential information on their Intranet networks because user access is controlled by means of a personal logon consisting of a username and password. Intranet communications are very popular with universities in particular. Students are issued a username and a password at the beginning of their studies, with this data they can access their examination results or register for new courses. Prospective students can view the status of their applications or can take part in exchanges of information with currently enrolled students.

Intranet networks have a high utility value for companies too. Companies can make all kinds of information available via the Intranet, for example, instructions, lists, appointments and much, much more. And what's more the gains from internal networking help to make employee communications more effective. Additionally, the Intranet is also the optimum source for internal documents and printed forms which are needed elsewhere. An intranet has a number of advantages over the traditional deployment of e-mail or paper forms as a means of distributing information, for example, users see the information they need immediately and independently of their current location. Additionally, documents can be kept up-to-date by the adminstrator of the intranet.