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What is NIC?

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Definition – What does NIC (Network Interface Card) mean?

Network Interface Card (NIC) is a component that offers networking capabilities for a computer. It enables a wired connection or a wireless connection to the local area network. In the 1990s and early 2000s, NICs were commonly included in desktop computers. The early 1990s, most of the computers did not include networking capabilities, so a network interface card could be added as an expansion card. Mostly these cards were installed in a PCI slot on the motherboard.

Glossary Web explains NIC (Network Interface Card)

Nowadays, wireless networking became more popular, and the wireless network interface card also grew in popularity. Instead of the Ethernet port, wireless NICs are specially designed for Wi-Fi connections and have an antenna in order to provide better wireless reception. Older wireless cards have PCI connections while the latest wireless NICs connect to a PCI Express slot.

Since most of the different networking standards exist, it is perfect to match the specifications of the network interface card to the standard of the network. For example, if you are linking to a Gigabit Ethernet network, the Gigabit Ethernet NIC is an excellent choice. A 100Base-T card will work well, but you will only get 1/10 of the data transfer rate. A 10 Gigabit Ethernet Card may also work, but you’ll only enjoy gigabit speeds on the network. Wireless cards also use the lowest denominator between the network and the NIC. However, if a wireless card does not support a newer wireless standard, it may not be able to link to the network.

Martin Adler

Martin Adler is a Computer Engineer and an accomplished writer with a passion for inspiring everyone with exciting technologies. He loves to explore technical terms and try to deliver something worth reading.