In the past years, computers are worked as stand-alone systems. To establish the communication, to perform computations between the multiple computers and to share the files among them, a portable medium of storage is required. At present in the modern world, communication among the devices is a must to share information. This communication is possible through the establishment of a dedicated path. This is made possible by the phenomenon called the internet. It can connect multiple devices to a single node of communication. This system was designed in 1973 by Robert Metcalfe. Finally in 1981 by 3COM, a 10 Mbit/sec Ethernet adapter is built. The communication of computers through the internet is done by the hardware component present in the computer is the Network Interface Card (NIC).
What is a Network Interface Card?
Definition: A card which is provided with a port to the establishment of dedicated communication is known as Network Interface Card (NIC). The control of communication is dependent on NIC. Hence it is also referred to as Network Interface Controller or adapter. These are available in both categories of wired and wireless communication. This device is capable of operating on both the layers of the OSI model called the physical and data link.
Based on the slot for inserting the card into the motherboard NIC’s are classified into two types. They are:
- The slot of insertion of the card is present on the motherboard.
- To provide access for network cables are present.
- Further, network access can be done in two ways. Based on a peripheral component interconnect and the other type is industry-based architecture (ISA).
The most common word that is used for internet connectivity is specified by a word known as Ethernet. The board present in the computers are provided internally with a slot for ethernet connectivity. The standard preferred for the establishment of an ethernet connection is ‘Register Jack’. This is commonly referred to as RJ 45connector.
- The absence of the slot on the motherboard the network access can be done externally.
- The external access can be classified into two types, they are Wireless network card and USB network interface card.
- There is no cable for network access.
- For traveling purpose wireless networking access makes it comfortable.
Components of Network Interface Card
The components present in the Network Interface Card are:
- Memory- It is present externally so that it can store the data temporarily during the communication.
- Connectors- To connect the cables to the Ethernet port.
- Processor- To convert the data in a suitable form of communication.
- Jumpers- Jumpers or the DIP switches are present. so that the operation can be controlled by using it.
- Routers- To provide wireless connectivity routers are used.
How Do Network Interface Card Works?
The steps involved in the network connection establishment are as follows:
- The foremost step is to establish a connection and gather the data.
- The purpose of NIC is to collect the data present on the motherboard. Then it is transferred to the buffer present on the card.
- While gathering the information and in between transferring the destination address where the data should be sent is inserted.
- Along with destination, NIC adds its own address.
- At the buffer, a checksum is calculated by NIC.
- Further, the data is transmitted to the network.
- After the data received NIC performs checksum an compares it with original checksum.
- After the verification, if no errors are detected then the acknowledge is sent.
The above steps are followed to establish the communication of the devices through the internet. As the NIC is known as the physical layer device. The data transmitted is known as frames.
Functions of NIC
The functions performed by the Network Interface Card are
Wired Network Connectivity
For the wired networks, a port is essential to connect the ethernet cable. It has a direct connection with the hub or switches present at the center. The resources or the data shard is based on their MAC address accessing. The wired network ensures the presence of physical cable for communication of the devices.
Wireless Network Connectivity
A wireless network connection doesn’t require any physical connection. Other than cables the network access is done through the antenna provided. The radio waves are the mean of communication between the device and the central switch that is wireless.
Based on the components chosen during the connection establishment the performance depends on such pieces of equipment. Both wired and wireless connectivity are the functions performed by the NIC.
1). Where is a network interface card located?
If it is the onboard situation, the card is located at the back of the USB ports. If it is not on board, in such a situation the card slot is located at the back of the computer, that is taking above a PCI slot. But on the laptops, the network card is integrated with the motherboard.
2). Why is a network card important?
A hardware present on the computer’s motherboard is known as a network card. The card is important in the establishment of a wired connection between the computer over a network.
3). Is a network card an input or output device?
The purpose of the network card is to establish a path of communication between the user and the computer. This path works for both sending the data and collecting back the data from the computer. Hence, the NIC is an Input/Output device.
4). What is the difference between NIC and Ethernet card?
The Ethernet port is a part of NIC. It is classified into two types wired and wireless. Ethernet is a part of the wired type NIC. There is a certain difference between the Ethernet and the NIC card.
The NIC card can provide access to Ethernet. But Ethernet card possesses multiple ports for internet connection. Along with Ethernet it also consists of an antenna to provide a wireless connection.
Please refer to this link to know more about Network Interface & Bridge in Computer Network.
Please refer to this link to know more about Network Interface Card MCQ.
The NIC is the communication medium between the multiple computers for easy information exchange. It is known for preparing the data and also controls the data. Each transmitted data has a unique identification address known as the MAC address. As we have learned about how NIC acts as a medium of communication. But what type of cable can be used to connect one NIC with another NIC?