A Network Interface Card (NIC) is a vital component for connecting computers to a network. It is a circuit board that is installed in the computer to enable communication with a data link layer standard, such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi. NICs are commonly found in most computers and some network servers, and can also be inserted into the expansion slots of devices. A NIC provides a computer with a dedicated, full-time connection to a network.
It implements the physical layer circuits necessary to communicate with a data link layer standard, such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Each card represents a device and can prepare, transmit and control the flow of data on the network. A wireless Network Interface Controller (WNIC) connects to a wireless network, such as Bluetooth or WI-FI, using an antenna to communicate using radio waves. In some network equipment, such as the switches used for network storage arrays, there are replaceable modules that allow the use of different types of connection. A data link address is a unique, permanent, 48-bit number assigned by the manufacturer to a NIC that connects a device to the network.
This concept of isolating the “data network” from the “session network” is shown in Figure 8.4.As a fundamental part of a network adapter, the driver directly decides the performance of the network adapter. Today, NIC cards designed as an embedded style are commonly found in most computers and some network servers. In addition, network cards, such as network cards for servers, can also be inserted into the expansion slots of devices. The network interface card (NIC) or network card is the most essential hardware device for establishing communication between computers. While there are ways to connect computers without a NIC (for example, through a modem, through telephone lines, or through a serial “null modem” cable), in most cases where there is a network, there is a NIC for each participating computer. A network interface card is an essential piece of hardware that allows computers to communicate with other devices on a network.
It can also be referred to as an Ethernet card, LAN card, or network adapter. However, a NIC allows the device to communicate with a router or network switch using a wired connection.