A Network Interface Card (NIC) is a base hardware component that allows us to connect over a network. It is a Hardware device installed in your cabinet. It’s a circuit board. NIC is also known as Network Interface Controller or Network Adapter or LAN Adapter as it controls Network.
If I want to connect 100’s computers and want to create a local network connection then I need to install a NIC in my computer’s or Laptops.
NIC works on the OSI Model of both a physical layer and a data link layer device, it provides hardware connectivity so that the physical layer processes, and then the data link layer allows to processes can run on it.
NIC also supports Input/Output interrupt, Direct Memory Access (DMA) interfaces, data transmission. NICs are used to convert data packets and information into a digital signal.
What Are the Types of NICs?
Here are two types of network cards: Wireless, USB, Fiber Optics & Wired.
Wireless(External Network Card) NICs use wireless technologies (without wire) to access a network through radio frequency waves. It looks like a router with an antenna comes out of it which allows connecting to a network. Wireless are USB-based.
Wired(Internal Network Card) In this NICs are connected to an Ethernet cable which allows to connect a computer or to a network over a wired connection. There are some NICs that offer both wired and wireless features.
Assume your Router is very far away from your Computer or is in another room then a wireless connection may be the best option.
In a computer inside your cabinet, NIC is inside your computer which comes out of the back of a computer near to the other ports, such as the power socket, USB, Jack, etc. In Laptop’s NICs are attached to the side of a computer.
In some PC or laptops, NICs are not connected inside of them. These have to connect outside of it for example through a USB connection.
Fiber optics – These are high-speed NIC supporting for network traffic handling which is very expensive and more complex. These can be used by combining NICs.
How Fast Are NICs?
Whenever you buy a NIC from the market, you’ll see a speed rating on the backside in its product description is printed. This is the speed rating that you will get in a network over NIC.
Generally, Wired connections are faster than wireless connections because you know a direct connection is established between two devices.
If you think that increasing the speed of NIC will increase your Internet Connection then you are wrong. Internet Speed depends on the Plan you purchase. NIC is only an interface between your internet connection and your device.
It’s is like that if you have a high-speed internet connection and your NIC is a slow rating then your internet connection will be slow, as NIC is an Interface between the Internet and your Device.
Components of network interface cards
Speed – NIC has their speed rating printed on the device description which allows them to run your PC with a high Internet speed. The average NICs offered speeds are in 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps, and 1 Gbps varieties.
Driver – Every Hardware needs software that is a driver and allows you to operate your Operating System (OS). The NIC driver is a required software that is installed in your computer, which can be downloaded online and must be updated from time to time for better performance.
MAC address – When you purchase NIC there is a unique MAC address, known as physical network address, used to pass Ethernet packets to the computer.
Connectivity LED – There is an LED indicator blinking to show the user that your computer and NIC is connected and data is transmitting.
Advantages of Network Interface Card :
- Increase the Internet Speed (Note: NIC is the only interface between your device and Internet Plan you have).
- Many Gadgets can be attached to NICs Port.
- A Bunch of information can be shared between many clients.
Disadvantages of Network Interface Card :
- The design of NIC sometimes doesn’t fit your cabinet.
- NICs are very low as compared to the Security features.
You can also read these topics: