September 25, 2020

How is a Private Network Different from Public Network?

5 min read
Private Network Different from Public Network

Private Network Different from Public Network

Windows 10 allows you to set each network as a public or private network. You may often want to change network from public to private in windows 10 depending on where you are located, your tasks, resources, and security concerns among other factors. The first time you connect to a network, the operating system (OS) will prompt you to choose if your computer system should be discoverable by other systems or not.It will set the appropriate settings based on your choice.So when you choose it to be a public network, Windows is going to act conservatively to provide enhanced security.

So whether you want to change network from public to private in windows 10 or vice versa, it is important to know what these two networks are and how they are different.

Basics Public Network vs. Private Network

While there is the option to customize how the OS treats both these networks, their basics are as follows.

When it comes to private networks, the OS will enable network discovery. Other connected systems on the network are able to see your system. This enables easy file sharing and other peripheral resource access. The Home group feature can be used by the OS for sharing files between systems.

When it comes to public networks, it is best to have your system hidden or undiscoverable. This is why the OS will turn off the above-mentioned discovery and sharing features. If you have created a Home group on your system, it will be disabled when you are connected to a public network.

Windows will assume that a private network is a trusted network and includes devices that you want to connect to. On the other hand, the OS assumes that a public network has other unknown devices that you don’t intend to connect to. Thus, you have good number of reasons to change network from public to private windows 10.

Public Network

A public network can be accessed by anyone, referring to the general public. Typically, there will be no access rules or limitations. The lack of restrictions or the presence of lesser limitations means that there are potential security risks with regard to these networks.

Here are important points to keep in mind:

  • A public network is more of a usage term than a topology
  • It doesn’t have any technical concept, which means it is not technically different from private network
  • There is no difference between public and private networks in terms of infrastructure or hardware
  • There is difference in terms of security, authentication and addressing systems
  • Anyone can access a public network, which means it requires higher level of security
  • It is essential to place a wide range of anti-malware and anti-hacking precautions
  • It is essentialto create security systems in place to prevent malicious users from infiltrating the connected devices. So it is recommended not to use public networks, like in a café, if you are working on office projects.

Private Network

A private network is a connection with a certain network that has limitations for creating a secure environment. It is configured to prevent external devices from accessing the network. It is accessible only to a selected list of devices and the access is also based on the settings configured in the access points and routers. This is much different from a public network that could be accessed almost freely by anyone.

Similar to a public network, a private network is also a usage term than a technical term. Setting up a private network is more complicated because of the custom security regulations that need to be configured. It may also require specialized hardware that may not be required for public networks. The network is used in business environments where high level of security is required for protecting valuable information.

The following factors have to be addressed to create secured connection:

  • The number of devices or users that can connect to the network
  • Protection of web servers to protect against malicious attacks
  • Installation of applications and hardware for high level of security
  • It is all such factors that make private networks so much more complicated to set up and configure.

Custom Discovery & Firewall Settings

As already mentioned, there is no technical difference that sets a private and public network apart. There are some options within Windows 10 settings that work differently for the two types of networks.

Discovery Settings: You can make changes to the discovery settings to control the level of privacy you want to have.

You can adjust the discovery settings using the following steps:

  • Open Control Panel
  • Locate Network and Internet
  • Go with the option ‘view network status and tasks’
  • Click on ‘change advanced sharing settings’

From here you can control the following settings:

  • Discovery
  • Homegroup
  • File sharing

It is also possible to enable the discovery function on a public network. Thus, the technical differences between the two types of networks are blurred. It is also possible to disable the discovery feature in private networks. File and printer sharing functions are disabled by default on both private and public networks. You can, however, change the settings on any of the networks based on your preferences.

Windows Firewall Settings: Similarly, there are different settings for private and public networks in Windows Firewall. You can set the firewall to change network from public to private in windows 10 or vice versa using the following steps:

  • Open the Control Panel
  • Click on System and Security
  • Click on Windows Firewall
  • Click on Windows Firewall

Makes changes to the options based on your preferences for the network. So if you can configure Windows to disable the firewall when you are connected to a private network and enable it for public networks. It is also possible to adjust the rules to work in different ways for both types of networks.

Private networks are more difficult and expensive to set up as compared to public networks. The latter doesn’t require much more than access points and an internet connection. However, when you connect to public networks, you have to be more careful. As mentioned above, you can set your own preferences for both types of networks or switch between the two using some simple tweaks.

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