Extranet Overview - Internet Technologies

What is Extranet?

Organization interacts with the outsiders with the help of Extranet network. Extranet is used to connect the businesses with their suppliers and customers. This allows the working to be in collaborative manner.



Using Virtual Private Networks (VPN), the Extranet is implemented as Internet is used to connect the organization which might cause threat to the data. By VPN, the network is more secure in Internet.


Key Points

  • The packet is encapsulated at boundary of networks in IPSEC complaint routers.
  • Packets and IP addresses are encapsulated with an encryption key.
  • IPSEC complaint routers or servers can only decode the packet.
  • Tunneling is the process where the message is sent over VPN.

VPN adds an additional security layer to TCP/IP protocol by using Internet Protocol Security Architecture (IPSEC) protocol in providing secure transactions. This layer is created by encapsulating the IP packet to a new IP packet as shown below:



For small and big businesses, Extranet is a successful model. Below are the advantages of using Extranet-



Extranet has its issues along with advantages. Below are the issues-


Extranet pages can be host in two different locations.

  • Host it on your own server.
  • Host it with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the same way as web pages.
  • It is very costly to own a server to host Extranet as it needs high bandwidth internet connection.


As the extranet pages are hosted on the server, additional firewall security is needed resulting in a complex security mechanism and increasing work load.

Accessing Issues

Even without Internet, information can be accessed in Intranet.

Decreased Interaction

Communication is at stake as there is no face to face interaction among customers, business partners and suppliers

Extranet vs. Intranet

Below are the differences between Extranet and Intranet:



Internal network that can be accessed externally.

Internal network that can not be accessed externally.

Extranet is extension of company's Intranet.

Only limited users of a company.

For limited external communication between customers, suppliers and business partners.

Only for communication within a company.

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