In fact, with the advent of graphical World Wide Web browsers and other Internet management tools, some people would say navigating the Internet is easier than weaving through a local-area network (LAN).
It isn't too surprising, then, that many companies are replacing LANs with intranets. Rather than using a traditional network configuration, intranet users connect to an internal site, similar to a site on the Web, and can perform all of their work within the site. Think of an intranet as a company's own private Internet. Intranet users also can easily connect to the Internet.
Companies that have switched to an intranet configuration say they save money while giving employees more access to company-wide and worldwide information. Industry experts say intranets are amazingly popular; new use of intranets by businesses is outpacing new use of the Internet by about 10 to 1.
The rise of intranets will change the way many people work. We'll explain how intranets work and discuss some of the potential changes they will cause in the workplace. (To learn who is using intranets and how they're using them, see the sidebar "Intranet In Use.")