Another type of network used by businesses is the

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Another type of network used by businesses is the metropoli- tan area network (MAN). These networks are larger than LANs and transmit data and information citywide (typically around 30 miles) and at greater speeds than a LAN. In addition, MANs are capable of transmitting voice, data, image, and video data, although they are typically optimized for voice-data transmis - sion. Rather than using telephone lines, MANs typically use fiber optic cables. Another type of network used by businesses is the wide area network (WAN). These comprise multiple comput- ers that are widely dispersed and that are linked into a network. WANs typically use high speed, long distance communications networks or satellites to connect the computers within the net- work. Intranets & Extranets Certainly, the Internet is one valuable network tool now widely used by businesses. Increasingly, a business needs to have a presence on the web (e.g., a homepage) in order to be competi- tive. However, the Internet is only one type of network that is used by businesses. In addition, some organizations set up private networks to serve their needs. An intranet is a private net- work similar to the Internet, and is set up for a given enterprise. Intranets are used to share information and provide computing resources within an organization. Intranets may also be used to facilitate document sharing for workgroups and virtual teams. An intranet requires the installation of servers and clients using Internet protocols (e.g., TCP/IP, http), and a web browser. As with the Internet, an intranet may comprise several networked LANs or use the leased line of a WAN. Typically, an intranet contains proprietary information. To pre- vent those outside the organization from gaining unauthorized access to information that the organization does not wish to dis - close to the public, information on an intranet is blocked by a firewall so that the information is only available to employees, other stakeholders, or other parties whom the organization autho - rizes. A firewall is a special-purpose software program or piece of computer hardware that is designed to prevent authorized access to or from a private network. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) deliver more granular control than traditional firewalls but have their own set of challenges (Erdheim, 2013). However, not all parts of an intranet need to be kept private. Intranets also provide platforms that can be used to develop and distribute applications for use by anyone with a web browser. When part of an intranet is made accessible to outside par- ties (e.g., customers, suppliers, partners), it is referred to as an extranet. Extranets can be used to exchange large volumes of data, share catalogs with a select list of users (e.g., wholesalers, other members of an industry), collaborate with other compa- nies on joint projects or ventures, provide limited access to other select companies, or share information with partner organiza - tions.
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  • Spring '12
  • Kushal Kanwar
  • Business, Computer network, EBSCO Information Services, EBSCO Research Starters®

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