The Net is a global mesh of computer networks sharing a common software standard called TCP/IP. Its backbones are high-speed fiber trunk-lines owned by telephone companies. National service providers such as UUNET aggregate data traffic and zip it over the backbones. They work with local service providers who connect to customers via PC modems or digital links.
Many companies have built internal networks using the same software standards as the Internet. Companies use intranets to distribute information and speed data among offices. Intranet activities usually take place behind secure ''firewalls'' so that only authorized users have access. An intranet can span multiple business locations via the Internet.
When a company throws open its internal network--or intranet--to selected business partners, the intranet becomes an ''extranet.'' Suppliers, distributors, and other authorized users can now connect to the company's network over the Net or through virtual private networks. Once inside, they can view data the company makes available.
- The 'Click Here' Economy
- COVER IMAGE: Doing Business in the Internet Age
- GRAPHIC: Online Sales Are Soaring
- TABLE: How the Internet Changes (Almost) Everything
- TABLE: Understanding Net-Speak
- GRAPHIC: How a Mythical Merchant Uses Three Avenues of the Net for E-Commerce
- Supply Chain
- Customer Service
- BW/Harris Poll
- FedEx: An Internet Stock?
- Online Merchants
- Cyber Prices
- Next: Smart Cards
- Net Tax Commentary
- Knowledge Management
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