ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Topic 34

Network types, for example, Intranet, Internet, VPN by Oliver Chan


The internet is the type of network that’s most commonly known. The internet is a worldwide network that is constantly growing, sometimes described as a “network of networks.” The internet uses a common protocol (an agreed method of communication) known as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or more commonly know as its abbreviation: TCP/IP. The internet is an endless resource for information, where the word endless does not really emphasize the size of the network.


An intranet is the internal network of an organization, such as company or school. An intranet uses the same network protocols and technology of the internet, but the access is restricted to employees, teachers, etc. It is sometimes described as the “private version of the internet.” An intranet is used to share information within an organization, and generally features a web server providing such information on the network.

Local Area Network (LAN)

Local Area Networks and intranets are quite similar in the fact that they are restricted networks. Most Local Area Networks tend to use the TCP/IP protocols, and most of them are connected to the Internet, commonly through a firewall. However the difference between an Intranet and a Local Area Network is that they don’t have a web server providing resource to the network.


An extranet is two or more computers or a local area network connected via the internet. It can be described as a private internet over the internet. Extranets are sometimes used to extend the intranet to other users.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A WAN is a network of two computers (or local area networks) that are connected over a large geographic distance through a dedicated connection. WANs are generally more expensive as they require the dedicated connection (not the internet), that is usually leased.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A virtual private network is two or more computers connected to each other via the internet. What separates the VPN from the other networks is its encryption. VPN generally involve high encryption in their data transfer as their medium for transmission is via the internet. Virtual Private Networks are generally favored over Wide Area Networks for their cost, as leasing a dedicated connection is more expensive than simply using the internet.

The ITGS viewpoint of networks

All the networks were derived from the network ARPANET, Advanced Research Project Agency network that was designed by the United States Department of Defense.

Everyone who uses the internet or an intranet is a stakeholder, and since networks are so commonly used, it hits almost all areas of impact. The issues arise when people try to ‘attack’ your computer and stealing personal information from it. When people try to hack VPNs and other private networks and steal information that can damage companies and corporations. Although our networks provide the advantage of ease for communication and sharing information and resources, the disadvantage of the risk of a security breach is definitely apparent. Since networks are used both locally and globally, the social and ethical issues apply on both a local and global level.

The solution, however temporary, is to fix the flaws of our networks: imposing more security and encryption in our data transfer, using firewall to make it harder for ‘hackers’ to intrude. This solution is temporary, as every network will have a security hole that’s waiting to be found and to be exploited by hackers.

Ethical issues concern those who actually attempt at breaching the networks. The ‘hackers’ are both responsible and accountable, and the consequences of their actions are that they can be subject to be punished by federal law for intruding on the privacy of others.


Anonymous said...


--The Justice Squad--

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:20:00 PM

Anonymous said...

The materials you have covered are basically abstract information, are there any insights to consider when we discuss about different kinds of network?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:26:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Protecting a network is a never ending cycle,you put on a new secutiy system, it is hacked, you put a security system to block the hack, a new hacking program breaks through the new system. Sometimes I think the solution is simply to disconnect from the internet...or, simply do the impossible, organize the internet with actual laws.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 7:29:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Simone said...

The materials you have covered are basically abstract information, are there any insights to consider when we discuss about different kinds of network?

The question is not very clear. Are you sure you read the last part about the ITGS viewpoint?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 5:25:00 AM


Blogger sam_shobeiri said...

We can keep on encripting networks... but there always seems to be someone that breaks it. do you really think theres ever gonna be a completely "safe" internet? I don't think so.

January 07, 2007 7:05 PM  
Blogger XiaoxiaoLi said...

I really like the easy-to-follow definitions of all those terminologies which are rather useful. Although there are not too much personal insights, I do agree with Sam regarding the fact that as useful and complex as the internet is, it will never be a "crime" free location.

January 08, 2007 12:23 AM  

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