Differences between public and private network

Differences between public and private network

By carolc

The network industry listens a lot to the terms public networks and private networks, and does not refer to who owns the network or the privacy of the information, but to the availability of the services offered by the network to users.

Public and Private networks

A public network is basically the type of network that provides us with a connection or telecommunications service to our equipment in exchange for paying a service fee. When we connect the Internet, through a router, we are clearly connecting to a public network. In this type of networks, we have access to servers located in different places in the world so that they provide us with a service that can be free or paid for.

Well, a private network is basically the opposite, of course. On a private network there is the figure of an administrator who configures, maintains, and manages their permissions and security.

What can be done on public and private networks?

A public network provides telecommunication services to subscribers or users, while on a private network even if features are accessed; they are not users or subscribers, but network members.

In public networks access is generally open to everyone, on a private network there is an administrator who controls those privileges.

Public networks have a greater scope in terms of coverage, because they are just intended to cover more. In the case of private networks the circuit is closed and is not intended to cover more, but to include the members that are desired.-In a private network there are no telecommunications service providers that charge a fee or payment, but the members participate in it, perhaps charged for a maintenance, but not a service. On the private network the user is paid when paying a fee.

In a private network, third-party services are not essentially requested for interconnection, but is established by the means themselves. The public network highlights interconnection.-The private network being more closed and exclusive is more secure, while a public network is more exposed.

Public networks are similar to those offered in some bars, cafes, hotels or restaurants and therefore, we do not want our computer to be visible to other devices connected to the same network. In this case, operating systems disable these visibility options because you understand that private networks are trusted networks, such as home or work networks, while public networks are full of other people’s devices and hence use a different configuration.

When to connect our equipment to public or private network

You may never have noticed, but when we proceed to connect a computer to a network, whether Wi-Fi or cable, Windows is going to ask us if that’s a public or private network. The system must know where the connected PC is to know what type of security it will deploy on the connection to its respective firewall or shared file permissions.

Private network:

When our connection is configured as a private network, it will mean that the operating system understands that we are inside our own home where there is a device that physically isolates us from the Internet network. This will configure file sharing between computers within this network so that, if we want, they can view it or go inside or make modifications.

Public network:

If in the other case we connect to a public network, our system will understand that our computer is connected directly to the Internet or to a network where there are other connected users who do not have to know anything about us. In this way the system will put all the necessary means so that other teams cannot see us, not even the name of our team. So they don’t know we’re connected.

Obviously there are ways to know, but in principle, we will be safe from others with a public network

Public and private IP address

An IP address consists of four groups between 1 and three digits separated by periods, have a length of 32 bits, and consist of two fields, one that is the network identifier and corresponds to the first group of numbers, and the host ID, which are the remaining three groups.

Difference between public and private IP

In addition, we can differentiate between public IP and private IP address. The public is the identifier of our network from the outside, that is, that of our home router, which is the one that is visible from the outside, while the private one is the one that identifies each of the devices connected to our network, therefore, each of the IP addresses that the router assigns to our computer, mobile, tablet or any other device that is connected to it.

Differences between a public and private network


  • To access them you will have to have a subscription or subscriber service, although on other occasions you can do it freely, such as radio or DDT.
  • When we connect to one of them, our team will restrict the use of shared files and computer identification.
  • Without proper protection enabled, your computer will be vulnerable to all kinds of external attacks. (Although well, this happens in any case whatever network it is)


  • Only computers and devices within the network operating range will be able to access.
  • Your internal settings, computers, and permissions are invisible to the outside, from a public network.
  • VPN can be created to extend your range of operation.
  • They are almost always connected to a public network through a secure gateway to receive and send data abroad.
  • Inside, you’ll have access to shared data or other devices.

Risks of public networks

Public networks when you connect a computer, doesn’t mean they’re secure. You can improve security when connecting to a hotel or airport using a VPN but there are a number of tips you should follow, usually avoiding public WiFi networks to connect to your bank, to pay online, to send confidential files, public networks do not exempt you from dangers. Or not in its entirety. Therefore, it is advisable that you use a VPN network or avoid, as far as possible, connect to this type of public WiFi in large stations or airports where they can be used to introduce malware, etc.

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