Re: Web vs. web?

Subject: Re: Web vs. web?
From: Mark Dando <danmcc -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 12:46:08 +1100

At 09:01 AM 4/3/98 -0500, Beth Agnew wrote:

>The (THE) Internet is a world-wide, extended network of computers. It is
>accessible by anyone with the technology and know-how to do so. There
>may be other internets, but these are limited networks of computers that
>may or may not allow access by the public.
>An intranet is a closed system. Whether it's based on a LAN or a WAN, it
>has no public access. It is usually an exclusive, enterprise-wide
>version of the services and functionality provided by the Internet.
>Users of an intranet may have outgoing access to the Internet or other
>internets through a security barrier (firewall) but there is no incoming
>access apart from the specialized procedures that can be set up for
>remote access by an insider.

What about incoming email?

>An extranet is a network of computers that provides limited public
>access, usually to specific users, such as clients. It is an intranet
>with an exposed interface that allows incoming access by approved users.
>It is not connected to or accessible via the Internet.

But how would these specific users gain access to an extranet except via
the Internet? By direct dial up?

"extranet" is a new one to me, but in any event I'm not sure of the
usefulness of these supposedly black-and-white definitions in trying to
educate generalist computer users, as I have to do.

What is a network? In this age of virtual networking, it's not as if any
network, apart from a LAN, consists of a group of computers linked by a
dedicated "wire".

The concept of network originally implied permanent connection. But
networking now is about potential connection, between virtually all
computers. Perhaps we should be trying to define levels of access rather
than types of networks.

How do you classify a web site that provides financial markets information
to subscribers who access it through an internet service provider? Is it on
the Internet, or do those who access it constitute an extranet? What about
a web site for a specific university course that can only be accessed by
students enrolled in that course?

What is an enterprise-wide network in a virtual corporation? Who is an
insider? As a consultant and student, I have a range of institutional
relationships that allow me to interact with various computer networks,
with varying levels of access, from my home office through a commercial
internet service provider.

I suspect that the term "intranet" has grown out of a desire by the IT
sector to reassure other areas of management about information security.
When we propose an "intranet" to management, we trying to avoid the notions
of openess and transparency -- and therefore vulnerability -- conjured up
by the word "Internet".

Mark Dando
Dando McCredie Pty Ltd
danmcc -at- ozemai -dot- com -dot- au
Wentworth Falls
New South Wales

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