Have you ever wondered what connects your computer to a network? Behind the scenes, there is a component called a Network Interface Card that is hard at work. This hardware component is used to allow your computer to connect to a network such a router or a local area network.
Without a Network Interface Card (NIC), you could not connect to the internet from a computer.
In this guide, we’re going to talk about what network interface cards are, why they are important, and what goes into a NIC. Let’s get started.
What is a Network Interface Card?
A Network Interface Card, or NIC, is a hardware component that allows you to connect to a network. A NIC circuit board is usually integrated into the motherboard through a PCI express slot, which is used to add expansion cards to a computer.
Most computers have a NIC built-in. This is because they are so important to a computer. You can add in your own NIC to a computer if you need access to additional networking features. If you are going to build your own computer, you will need to choose a NIC.
The NIC acts as a bridge between a computer and a network. Most NICs support Ethernet card and Wi-Fi powered networks. This means that it doesn’t matter whether your network is wired or wireless; a NIC will still work.
NICs have many different names. Some people refer to them as Network Interface Controllers, whereas others call them network adapters or Network Adapter Cards (NACs). Whenever you hear these terms, you should remember that they all refer to a card that connects a computer to a network.
NICs are assigned a MAC address. This is used to uniquely identify a NIC on a network. You can find out the MAC address of a NIC by looking at your computer’s device networking settings.
How Does a NIC Work?
A NIC allows a device to connect with other devices on a network. NICs are often used with Ethernet cables to physically connect different devices on a network.
For instance, a server will have a NIC which allows it to connect to a router. You could connect your PC to a router using a NIC. A printer has its own NIC so that it can connect with the network with which you want to use the printer.
NICs work in tandem with other networking devices to connect you to a network. NICs only allow you to connect to other devices. If you want to connect to the internet, you will need a router. Routers connect a local network to the internet.
What Are the Types of NICs?
There are two types of network cards: wireless and wired.
Wireless NICs use wireless technologies to access a network. These wireless network cards have an antenna coming out of them which allows them to connect to a network.
Wired NICs have an Ethernet network cable attached. This allows you to connect a computer to a network over a wired connection. Some NICs offer both features. The one that you will need to use depends on your use case.
If your router is far away and you want to connect your computer to your router, a wireless connection may be best. If you need more dependability, a wired connection might be more optimal.
On PCs, NICs come out of the back of a computer next to the other ports, such as the power socket. Laptop NICs are usually attached to the side of a computer.
Some computers do not have an internal NIC, which means the NIC is not inside of the computer. These computers usually rely on external NICs, which are NICs that are connected to a computer from the outside, for example through a USB connection.
How Fast Are NICs?
When you buy a NIC, you’ll see a speed rating in its product description. This rating will give you an indication of what strength of network connection you will receive over the NIC.
Wired connections are typically faster than wireless connections because a direct connection is made between two devices on a network. With that said, wireless NICs are by no means slow.
The speed of a NIC does not increase the speed of your internet connection. Many NICs support 100 Mbps download speeds. Using a NIC of this capacity does not mean that your internet connection will increase in speed; the NIC is only an interface between devices.
On the other hand, a NIC may bottleneck your internet connection to a device. If you have a solid internet connection and a NIC that is slower, then your connection speeds on your computer will be limited to that of the NIC.
NICs allow you to connect a computer to a network. There are two types of NIC: wired and wireless. Wired NICs allow you to connect to a network over Wi-Fi. Wireless NICs allow you to connect a computer to a network over ethernet.
Now you’re ready to start talking about NICs like a networking expert!