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LAN vs. Intranet: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 7, 2024
LAN (Local Area Network) is a network covering a small geographic area, while an intranet is a private network accessible only to an organization's members.

Key Differences

LAN refers to a network that connects computers and devices within a limited area, like a home, school, or office building. An intranet, on the other hand, is a private network based on internet technologies, confined within an organization, which can span multiple LANs.
LAN is designed for sharing resources like files and printers among local devices. Intranets, however, serve as a secure platform for information sharing, communication, and collaboration within an organization, often encompassing multiple LANs.
Connectivity in a LAN is typically achieved through Ethernet or Wi-Fi within a small geographical area. In contrast, an intranet may span vast geographical distances, connecting multiple LANs, and is accessible only to authorized personnel within the organization.
LAN requires networking hardware like switches, routers, and cabling. Intranet, while using similar hardware for connectivity, also relies on software solutions for managing content, communication tools, and security protocols.
LAN security focuses on protecting data shared within the network and controlling access. Intranet security is more complex, involving protecting sensitive organizational data and providing different levels of access to employees.

Comparison Chart

Geographic Scope

Small, local area
Can span multiple local areas


Local network users
Members of an organization


Resource sharing
Information sharing, collaboration


Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Internet technologies, including LAN

Access Control

Network-level security
Organization-level security, multiple access levels

LAN and Intranet Definitions


LAN connects computers within a close vicinity.
The office's LAN allows employees to share files quickly.


Intranet serves as a communication platform for employees.
The intranet is our primary tool for internal announcements and discussions.


LAN involves physical components like routers and cables.
Setting up the LAN required extensive cabling throughout the building.


An intranet is a private network within an organization.
Employees access company policies through the intranet.


LAN is a small-scale network compared to city-wide or national networks.
Our LAN efficiently handles all local traffic in the building.


Intranet access is restricted to organization members.
Only staff members have login credentials for the intranet.


LAN supports high-speed data exchange in a small area.
The LAN enabled fast data transfer between computers in the lab.


Intranet provides secure access to company resources.
Sensitive financial reports are only available on the intranet.


LAN involves interconnecting devices in a limited area.
The school's LAN connects all computers in classrooms and offices.


Intranet is used for collaboration among organization members.
Teams collaborate on projects through the intranet's shared workspaces.


A system that links together electronic office equipment, such as computers and printers, and forms a network within an office, building, or group of buildings


A privately maintained computer network that can be accessed only by authorized persons, especially members or employees of the organization that owns it.


A local area network; a network{3} connecting computers and word processors and other electronic office equipment within a small area, to create an inter-office system, typically within one building or one site of a corporation. Contrasted to WAN, a wide-area network.


(computing) A private computer network, typically one that uses the protocols of the Internet.


A local computer network for communication between computers; especially a network connecting computers and word processors and other electronic office equipment to create a communication system between offices


A restricted computer network; a private network created using World Wide Web software


How does a LAN work?

A LAN connects devices over short distances, using hardware like routers and switches.

What is the purpose of an intranet?

An intranet serves for internal communication, information sharing, and collaboration within an organization.

What is an intranet?

An intranet is a private network within an organization, using internet technologies.

How is data security managed in a LAN?

LAN security involves network-level protocols and access controls.

Can an intranet span multiple locations?

Yes, an intranet can connect multiple locations of an organization.

Is LAN limited to a single building?

Typically, a LAN is confined to a single building or closely situated buildings.

Are intranets accessible from outside the organization?

Intranets are typically accessible remotely, but with strict security protocols.

Can a LAN operate without the internet?

Yes, a LAN can function independently of the internet.

What is the typical speed of a LAN?

LAN speeds can vary, but they generally offer high-speed connections.

What is a LAN?

A LAN is a network that connects computers and devices in a localized area.

Can intranets host applications?

Yes, intranets can host various applications for business processes.

What is the difference in scale between LAN and intranet?

LANs are smaller in scale, whereas intranets can be extensive, covering an entire organization.

Can external users access an intranet?

Generally, only authorized organization members have access to an intranet.

What devices are used in a LAN?

Devices like computers, printers, and servers are part of a LAN.

How do employees connect to a LAN?

Employees connect to a LAN via Ethernet cables or Wi-Fi.

What are common uses of a LAN?

LANs are commonly used for file sharing, printer access, and internal communication.

How is an intranet different from the internet?

An intranet is a private network, while the internet is a global public network.

Are LANs and intranets mutually exclusive?

No, they often complement each other; intranets can span multiple LANs within an organization.

How do intranets facilitate collaboration?

Intranets offer tools like shared workspaces, forums, and document management for collaboration.

Is an intranet hosted on the internet?

No, an intranet uses internet technologies but is a separate, secure network.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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