An extranet is typically housed on a dedicated web server or a company server with a public-facing IP address (i.e. it can be seen on the web) and is usually protected by one or two levels of authentication. The purpose of extranets is to allow user-level access to information, downloads or documents once they have logged in, an example would be an accountancy practice who would want to allow client access to annual accounts, thereby avoiding the needless 5 minute call requesting it to be emailed - they could log into the extranet and access the information therein.
An intranet however is normally housed on an in-house server and typically is not public-facing as only employees within an IP range (normally computers directly linked to the server i.e. in an office or campus). The common uses for an intranet would be to maximise the use of time for transfering documents, company-wide information such as contacts, phone books and a central booking system for meeting rooms or car parking. This information would be keep behind a firewall on the company server but modern Virtual Private Networking means that remote employees may also connect and share the information.
OK, where do we go from here?
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