Network cards, aka network interface cards (NIC) or adapters, are an integral part of hardware base, intended to connect a PC to a home/office computer network via a cable. Its key function is to prepare, send and administrate data within one particular network, allowing multiple users share common data. It goes without saying that communication between the computing devices would not be feasible without dedicated drivers for network cards. The latter come in direct touch with OS that governs its operation.
» Network Cards: Full list of devices
As far as wired network connection is concerned, NIC requires an Ethernet cable. It establishes connection between a desktop/laptop PC and a high-speed Internet modem that, in its turn, is connected to the Internet provider’s line.
This cable resembles a phone wire but features a larger interface connector (usually RJ-45). Nonetheless, some cards employ several interface connectors, increasing compatibility with various platforms.
As usual, NIC has a pair of indicator lights (based on light-emitted diodes mechanism). The first, green indicator shows when an adapter is turned on; the second indicator might be either orange or red, depending on whether the cable is sending or receiving data. Sending process is possible thanks to a built-in transceiver that transforms parallel data into a serial one. In order to enhance transmission process, a user might download network card drivers or update the existing ones.
Each network adapter owns a unique MAC address, conventionally assigned by its developer. This address allows for identifying the very adapter among all adapters on the globe.
One of the main privileges of wired NIC is the possibility to reach/extract data from any PC connected to the network and transfer info to the other PC. This way, all devices receive access to the whole scope of information stored within one network.
Physically, NIC is a controller inserted into an expansion slot of the system board. It translates the data sending from the cable into bytes in order the CPU could read the very data. Network cards drivers are called to facilitate the process of translation, as well as enhancing an overall performance.
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