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Audience: Newbies - Self Learners
Last Updated: 5/28/2011 5:43:13 PM
**All times are EST**


By Erik Rodriguez

This article describes how intranets work and their common uses.

Intranets are widely used across the world as means of sharing information among employees in businesses and/or development teams. Basically, an Intranet is a website running inside a company's LAN or WAN. They can be setup many different ways according to individual needs and budgets. The image below shows a diagram of a simple Intranet.

As you can see the entire LAN is behind a firewall. A dedicated server is provided to run the Intranet. You might wonder why there is a mainframe server in the diagram? More technical organizations may integrate the Intranet with data from a mainframe server. While the two machines are not directly associated with each other, authenticated users may poses the ability to search a mainframe server using the company Intranet. These diagrams use industry standard schematic symbols.

Extending an Intranet

If a company wants to connect to a partnering company's intranet, it is called an extranet. In order to connect two or more networks a VPN must be used to provide proper security. The diagram below shows the basic structure of an extranet.

Although both LANs are connected to each other using an ordinary Internet connection, the Intranet is not visible to other Internet users. These LANs are using a VPN connection to communication together such as PPTP. These is much cheaper than leasing a dedicated line from the phone company or other service provider.

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