An Overview of Network Interface Cards

A network interface card, or NIC, is a common computer component that allows for devices to achieve network connectivity. Whether one wishes to establish a small local network of computers or to access servers for exploring the World Wide Web, a network interface card is generally needed for any wired or wireless network connection. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the network interface card, allowing you to have a better grasp on its functionality, implementation, and more.

When network interface cards first came about, they were expansion cards that could be plugged directly into the computer bus. As Ethernet and computer technology developed, however, such technology has evolved into controllers that are built into the motherboard and available upon purchase. Additionally, many modern server motherboards will have multiple network interfaces for their standard operations. As a result, the network interface is most commonly a built-in feature or a low-cost chip. The only time in which an additional network card is needed is when a non-Ethernet network is being used, or when separate network connections are required. Similar to other forms of hardware, the networking devices are most likely going to be integrated onto a chip for more consolidation.

While there are numerous types of network interface cards that one may procure, all feature a common set of components that are essential for standard functionality. The memory of the device is vital for communication, serving to store all sent & received data. Alongside the memory is the processor that assists communication by converting data messages as necessary. So that communication can be carried out without software, jumpers and connectors are used. If wireless connectivity is a feature of the card, then a router will be present as well.

Based on whether one wishes to conduct network communication through a wired or wireless connection, one of two network interface cards may be used. The Ethernet network interface card is the older type, that of which was developed by Robert Metcalf in 1980. With such hardware, one can attach an Ethernet cable to their computer and achieve LAN, MAN, and WAN networks. Wireless network cards, on the other hand, allow for cableless network connectivity as the card is designed for Wi-Fi connections and communication.

While a wireless network card may be beneficial in certain settings, the network interface card is highly advantageous for increased speed, security, and reliability. Additionally, network interface cards can handle large amounts of data with ample communication speed, and they are very affordable as well. Despite this, they need to be properly configured to be used correctly, and they can be inconvenient in certain cases if a hard-wired connection is a necessity. With a better understanding of network interface cards, their functionality, and types, you can determine what is best for your particular needs. If you are in the market for any computer or networking hardware, let the experts at Unlimited Purchasing help you procure everything you require with ample time and cost savings.

Unlimited Purchasing is your sourcing solution for a diverse set of applications, providing access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find components. Explore our various part and manufacturer catalogs as you see fit, and our RFQ service will allow you to request quotes for your comparisons quickly and easily. If you happen to be facing a time constraint and require items fast, we can expedite the shipping process with ease through the use of our expansive supply chain network stretching across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. We are also fully dedicated to quality, operating with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation as a result of our steadfast dedication to various control measures. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to give us a call or email at your earliest convenience, and our team members would be more than happy to assist you however they can!


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