NIC (Network Interface Card) is a network card designed to be plugged into a computer motherboard to connect to one of its ports to allow the machine to join a network and to share resources such as documents, an Internet connection, or a printer.
What is the Network Card in the Computer?
There are different types of adapters depending on the type of cabling or architecture used in the network, but currently, the most commonly used interface is Ethernet using an RJ-45 connector.
Each network card has a unique 48-bit hexadecimal ID number called MAC address, and these ID hardware addresses are managed by the IEEE (Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers).
The first three octets of the number of MAC addresses are known as OUIs and are defined by their specific vendors and are also specified by the IEEE. The chipset in the network card that is responsible for serving as an Ethernet interface between the physical environment and equipment is also called a NIC.
NIC is a chip used in computers using wireless connectivity, UTP cable, coaxial cable, or fiber-optic connections. It is also used to connect two or more devices together on network cards, network printers, or peripherals such as embedded systems.
Some of the network cards have a BOOT ROM containing a ROM that allows the computer to be installed with a bootable operating system image from a server on the network and allows computers to be installed without a hard drive, CD/DVD, or flash memory.
The BOOT ROM feature, which allows computers to be booted over the network, is included in the BIOS by some motherboard manufacturers, so the operating system setup processes can be done faster.
Development of Network Cards
Network cards have had higher data transfers and more stable data traffic with many developments from the past to the future. In the past, older network cards were used in older network topologies. Today, the most popular types of adapters are Ethernet and WiFi technology.
Network cards are widely used in home and business networks and are often integrated into desktop or laptop motherboards, but when an additional NIC is required, cards for PCI or USB ports are available. In older systems, a NIC could be installed in an ISA port instead of a PCI.
Network cards used in Token Ring topologies are out of use today due to their low speed and higher cost compared to Ethernet. In this network structure, DB-9 connectors were used. RJ-45 connector has also been used for MAUs (Multiple Access Units).
The network cards used in Arcnet topologies were basically using BNC and RJ-45 connectors, but these cards are no longer used today, considering their advantages compared to Ethernet and their costs.
Ethernet 10Base2 structure was widely used in the ’90s. Nowadays, 10Base2 is an outdated technology compared to 100BaseT. Today, manufacturers are developing adapters that can work with both 100BaseT and 1000BaseT technology.
Ethernet network cards use RJ-45 (10/100/1000), BNC (10), AUI (10), MII (100), GMII (1000) connectors according to the structure and type of network. The most common network card is the NIC with RJ-45 connectors, but during the twisted pair transition of most of the coaxial cable, cards with BNC and RJ-45 connectors were used a lot.
With the development of gigabit networks, 2 or more RJ-45 ports have been added to NICs, and motherboard manufacturers are now producing multiple RJ45 sockets in their products. In particular, these cards are widely used in server computers.
Currently, many organizations and companies or home users use 1000 Mbps, also known as GigabitEthernet, as well as twisted pair cable, but there are also types of cable that operate at higher frequencies.
Available Ethernet technologies may differ according to transmission speeds, cable types, maximum cable length, and topology. Maximum distance refers to the maximum length between two knots. The topology type determines the physical form of the network and if T connectors are used in the network, this network type is a bus, if hubs or switches are used, it refers to a star network topology.
WiFi, ie wireless network cards, are also different types of NICs, depending on the standard they are compatible with and are generally referred to as 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n.
Commonly used before the newer standards were 802.11b transmitting at 11 Mbps over 100 meters and 802.11g transmitting at 54 Mbps. The actual transfer rate of a WiFi card with 802.11b protocol is about 4Mbps, and 802.11g has a maximum of about 20Mbps.
Also, a WiFi NIC uses radio waves to transmit information and there is no need to use a network cable. The speed at which information is transmitted with radio frequencies varies depending on the type of NIC, so the latest cards support 1000 Mbps/10000 Mbps speeds.