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An intranet ( Latin intra , "within" 'and English net "network"; German  local network ) is a computer network that, in contrast to the Internet , can be used independently of the public network, is not publicly accessible and has other, additional or restricted functions offers.


Companies and authorities in particular are implementing an intranet in their information technology to enable faster data access . It is structured like the Internet from which its name is borrowed.


In contrast to the Internet, the network operator defines the goals of use , for example:

Network construction

Spatially separate network segments of intranets were traditionally connected by leased lines . Since leased lines are only provided virtually by all providers in all modern private or public telecommunications networks, the intranet is similar to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) in several branches of a company . The intranet of a company that works at multiple locations actually uses the generally and publicly accessible transmission networks, in which all virtual line connections are provided in packet-switched fashion by a switching system or a public carrier, without an unregulated transition to public branches being made possible.

In contrast to terms such as local area network and global area network , this term does not describe the spatial extent of a computer network, but the (limited) extent of its user group. For the IT infrastructure, this means the use of TCP / IP as the network protocol, Internet services as the application basis and web browsers as the universal user interface .


Intranets are widespread wherever employees can find out about the latest reports as well as rules and agreements. You will also find important documents and forms on the intranet that you can download, print out or edit for your work. The intranet is used both in companies and in many authorities. Large companies in particular use specially modified browser variants as a user interface .

Some countries also have their own intranet; North Korea is an extreme example . Most people there do not have access to the Internet, but can only surf the national intranet (which is censored).

With an intranet, companies pursue the goal of securing and improving the supply of information for employees. For this purpose, the entire process, from the quality-assured provision of information, the target group-oriented (personalized) distribution of information and the quick finding and easy use of information in the context of business processes, is optimized. Another side effect of the standardized user interfaces is a stronger in-house sense of belonging among users ( corporate design , corporate identity ).

With targeted use of technology ( content management , workflow management ), the effectiveness of knowledge workers and thus the competitiveness of companies can be increased with intranets.


Individual logical interfaces to the Internet are controlled by firewalls . The operator of the intranet uses this packet-switched transmission from a provider to create his own private network, even with several locations. Using protocols such as IPsec can to tunnel created by the Internet, which not only network segments with many wired LAN - clients connect, but also individual mobile devices such as smart phones wirelessly via WLAN - router link.

Access to the intranet is secured by locking. As a rule, the participants in an intranet have to log in using simple authentication methods such as a “ login ” mask, which consists of a user name and the associated password , or using complex authentication methods with several factors, such as U2F . This means that the allocation of access rights to individual participants can be reliably and securely controlled via the user administration of the respective operating system .

An extranet is part of an intranet to which a further, privileged group of users has secure access from outside of their own locations.


The same directory services can be made available in an organization and company-internal computer network based on the same technologies ( TCP / IP , HTTP ) and applications as the Internet . In addition, the use of protocols can be restricted, expanded or changed.


The support and automation of linked processes is not provided by the network, but by appropriate applications that are made available on the intranet.

The term intranet is often used independently of its technical definition to summarize internal company or community web communication. This can include file servers , websites , chats, or forums . Typical contents are internal public information such as rules, agreements, procedural and work flow instructions, employee magazines , documents and forms. Employees are often accessed via an intranet portal .

Synonym for intranet portal

In parlance in Internet and online agencies and similar service providers, the shortened term “intranet” is sometimes used as a synonym for intranet portals based on web technologies. In these contexts, what is meant is a specific installation of web software that runs on a host in the intranet and is made available to the intranet users , and not the intranet itself.


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