Telnet is a user command and an underlying TCP/IP protocol for accessing remote computers. Through Telnet, an administrator or another user can access someone else's computer remotely. On the Web, HTTP and FTP protocols allow you to request specific files from remote computers, but not to actually be logged on as a user of that computer. With Telnet, you log on as a regular user with whatever privileges you may have been granted to the specific application and data on that computer.
A Telnet command request looks like this (the computer name is made-up):
telnet the.libraryat.whatis.eduThe result of this request would be an invitation to log on with a userid and a prompt for a password. If accepted, you would be logged on like any user who used this computer every day.
Telnet is most likely to be used by program developers and anyone who has a need to use specific applications or data located at a particular host computer.