Intranet Vs. Internet

The age of information technology owes everything to the development of computer networking. It’s the linking up of computers on ever-widening scales, that has turned our long sought after dream of making the world’s knowledge freely accessible, into reality. If all computer networks are arranged in an ascending order of complexity and scaling, two types of networks will lie at extreme ends. One is of course the ‘Internet’ and the other, which may be functional in your company, is an ‘Intranet’.

Intranet Vs. Internet Comparison

Computer networking forms the fundamental basis of intranet and Internet. It enables the sharing of resources and information among a group of computers. The first operational computer network was created for the United States Department of Defense and was known as ‘Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). Since then, networking technology and architecture evolved in complexity and sophistication, to provide us with the internet. The synergy of advanced network computing hardware and sophisticated networking software based on Internet protocols has made this possible. As you will see ahead, an intranet and the Internet are two widely separated points on the scale of networking complexity, which serve to provide the most efficient form of information and resource sharing.

Definition

Intranet is an internal private computer network or connection of one or more computer networks, whose use and access is restricted to an organization and its employees or members. These kinds of networks are used for ease of information sharing and communication in companies. In industries, based on the information technology, intranets are absolutely necessary, as their work involves a high degree of data sharing and collaboration among computer users. Such an intranet, mostly operates through a website, run by a local server, acting as a resource sharing medium. You could call it a scaled-down private Internet. Transfer of data over such a private website based network may be controlled using the Internet protocols like HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). However, not all intranets use private websites. There may be organizations where intranets are meant for pure file sharing, with no private website or Internet protocol use required.

The very fact that you are accessing information through the Internet, demonstrates that you already have an idea about what the Internet or ‘International Network’ can do for you. Take small networks spread in a small region of your city, then integrate them with other such small networks to form local area networks (LANs). Then integrate all such local area networks to form a wide area network of computers. Next, integrate such wide area networks (WANs) into a national network. Subsequently, join all such national networks together. What you ultimately end up with, is the Internet! It is a single network that connects computers all over the world using Internet protocols, which make information sharing and routing possible. The main point of difference between intranet and Internet is the following. While intranet involves the networking of a few hundred computers, Internet is a network of more than billion computers spread worldwide! It uses an ever improving set of Internet protocols (HTTP, FTP, SMTP, etc.) to transfer data. Unlike the intranet, the Internet and the information sharing service called the ‘World Wide Web’, which we operate on, cannot function without these protocols.

Structure, Scale & Complexity

The structure of an intranet is similar in principle to the Internet. Both use a server-client structure and both networks transfer data using Internet protocols. However, they fundamentally differ due to the vast difference in networking scale and complexity.

With billions of computers sharing and transferring data amongst each other, the administration of the Internet is far more complex, as it is the mother of all computer networks. A large amount of networking and routing hardware is needed to connect all the computers worldwide. On the other hand, an intranet, being restricted to a few computers is easier to manage.

Server Control

One of the most fundamental points of difference is server control. An intranet is controlled by a single server, which can adequately handle all tasks. A single server or server cluster has absolute control over the entire network.

The Internet is operated by a linked set of billions of computer servers world wide. This is due to the sheer size of data that’s exchanged over the Internet, making it inevitable, that control centers be decentralized. It is the difference between the governing of a city and governing a nation. Decentralization is essential. Governed by a common architecture, servers spread world wide exchange data with client computers through the use of Internet protocols.

Uses

An intranet is built in an organization, to enable resource sharing and provide a rapid communication channel that efficiently connects team members and peers. Corporate intranets have restricted access controlled by user ids and passwords, which are not accessible to anybody on the outside. In some cases, external access may be granted through the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to let distant employees connect with the network. Intranets provide a limited set of services, which are required by the organization. Improvement in productivity, cost saving and rapid communication are some of the inherent advantages of an intranet.

The Internet and the intranet differ in their uses. Internet is a global network which has information sharing on a global level as its goal. Internet is more open in the sense, that everything shared here, is accessible to every person connected to it, all over the world. One of the major points of differentiation is the range of services offered. Internet offers all possible spectrum of services to its users, compared to the very restricted number of services offered by Intranets. From cloud computing, e-mail, FTP, world wide web, peer-to-peer data sharing to VoIP services and more, Internet caters to every global netizen’s needs.

The difference is primarily the scaling, complexity and manageability, while the fundamental principles and technologies underlying both networks remain the same.

Negative Effects of Internet on Children

Internet has proved to be one of the most innovative inventions for us. It has made its presence felt in every sphere of our life, be it economy, society, health care, spirituality, etc. Prominent among its benefits is the impact it has had on the education sector. Students can now gain access to innumerable research papers, apart from getting latest updates in the field of science and technology. But as they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”, Internet has created new challenges for the society and most threatening among these is the impact it has had on children. Internet addiction has been recognized as a disorder in many countries, and rehabilitation centers have been created to help people to get over it. The sad part of this whole phenomenon is that a large proportion of Internet addicts are youngsters, who are extremely vulnerable to its ill-effects. There are several advantages and disadvantages of Internet but in this article, we will focus on its negative effects.

Internet and Children

Internet Addiction Disorder
Although studies on this disorder are in preliminary stages, it has been established that children who spend most of their time on the Internet, show a peculiar kind of behavior which is marked by an urge to be on the Internet all the time, so much that the child may shun all activities and become immersed in the virtual world. Surveys conducted over the years have found that most people who suffer from Internet addiction disorder are young adults, who easily fall into the lure of exploring everything that is available on the Internet. In America alone, it has been estimated that around 10-15 million people are suffering from Internet addiction disorder, and this is increasing at the rate of 25% every year.

Reduced Physical Activity
There are a host of games that are available on the Internet and this has made most children to shun all outdoor activity. In the absence of physical activity, children can easily fall prey to a lot of lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, apart from failing to develop interpersonal skills. Apart from these factors, sitting continuously in front of a computer screen can seriously damage our eyes, and put a strain on our neck and shoulders. Children are in their developing years and these factors can create life-long problems for them.

Easy Access to Pornography
This is one of the greatest threats Internet poses to children. Internet has provided an easy medium to children to gain access to pornography and this can cause them to either become sexually-deviant or sexually-addictive. This phenomenon has also caused another problem, and that is the increase in prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in children. According to reports, one out of every four teenagers gets infected with a STD every year. The adult content that is present on the Internet promotes irresponsible sex and creates false notions in the minds of students.

Vulnerability to Cyber Crime
If you have been following news lately then you must know what we are referring to. Children have been lured by pedophiles posing as good Samaritans and have been physically abused and molested. Internet has also made it easy for unscrupulous elements to get in touch with children and this has led to an increase in the cases of kidnapping and identity thefts. About 60% young teens in the United States have admitted to responding to messages from strangers. This kind of behavior is extremely risky and has made children extremely vulnerable to become victims of cyber-crime.

The points mentioned above have posed new challenges to teachers and parents. There are demands from various quarters that there should be some sort of regulation to check this issue. However, we believe that instead of making Internet a taboo, we should educate children to use it for their benefit. It is advisable for parents to monitor how much time their children spend on the Internet, and if possible set a time-limit till which they would be allowed to use the Internet. Having the computer in the living-room instead of a child’s bedroom can also ensure censorship on what they are accessing on the Internet. It is also important that you talk to them about ‘the birds and the bees’ because if you do not talk to them, they will turn to their friends and Internet for answers which may not provide authentic information.

Although, this article is foucused on the negative effects of internet, it in no way means that we are undermining the importance of Internet in our lives. We have written this article for the Internet audience, and you are reading it through the Internet, which itself explains the positive side of Internet usage. It is for us to decide whether we use technology for the betterment of our lives or put it to unabated abuse. Children may not be mature enough to understand this, but we as parents, teachers and guardians need to ensure that we inculcate the right behavior in our children.