The network card is an essential device to maintain the function of the computer properly. The internet connection comes through the network card. It receives the data and makes it such a signal that the computer or any device can receive it easily. Mainly, a network card is a hardware component that is used for connecting to the network with your device. This card allows the users to make a full-time and dedicated connection to the network by implementing the physical layer.
There are some different names of the network card based on the behavior of these cards. But the common work of all the network cards is to enable devices like a computer to be connected to the network. The network cards are placed on the circuit board. Nowadays, network cards are designed as a built-in style in most computers’ motherboard and network servers, or app servers, etc.
How Network Cards Function
The network cards work for connecting the computer and the network. The network cards receive the data and translate the data into a compatible form which is binary on the computer. Then, it transfers the modified data via network cable or wireless network signal. The network cards are also used to control the data to send it to other devices on the network. This network card has a huge influence on sending or receiving data rapidly. So, the speed of the computer data is dependent on the network card. Sometimes, the data speed slows down because of the older versions of the network card.
Types of Network Cards
There are mainly two types of network cards. The two types have a specific configuration. One is ethernet and the other is wireless.
- Ethernet Network Card:
You can plug an ethernet cable into the ethernet network card. The other side of the ethernet cable is plugged into either modem or the router. This ethernet cable allows you to transfer network data and connect to the network.
- Wireless Network Card:
In the wireless network card, there is a small antenna just like an indoor TV antenna attached to the card. This antenna works to pick up the wireless signal from the router. Then, the antenna makes the signal into a usable internet connection for the computer. This wireless antenna needs an additional setup on the computer. It is because you have to connect the network to your computer by the required password for the wireless network.
Again, there are some sub-types of the network card. The types are described below:
- Jumper Configurable Network Cards:
The name jumper configurable network card is for the physical jumper attached to the card. These jumpers are very small devices. The jumpers are used to control the hardware of the computer without the help of any software. The jumpers determine the interrupt request line settings, input and output address, upper memory block, and also type of transceiver. In the older versions of the computer, the jumper configurable network cards are very popular. But the popularity of this card reduces in the version after 2003. These jumper configurable network cards are no more found useful because it relays on the physical jumpers. So, it has been replaced with modern types of network cards.
- Software Configurable Network Cards:
To cover the lacking of jumper configurable network cards, software-configurable network cards are invented. The manufacturer of the software-configurable network card made it with a manual configuration of software. This type of network card can be configured with software with the help of the directions of the manufacturer. In the software, you have complete control over the network card. You can also choose auto-configuration mode if you want to. This auto-configuration helps your card to work with the best options.
- Plug-and-Play Configuration Card:
This plug-and-play network card is very perfect for the modern versions of your computer. This plug-and-play network card allows you to just plug the card into the PCI port of your computer and it will automatically configure without any additional software. You can also configure the card manually with settings following the directions of the manufacturer. But as the card loaded the settings by itself, you don’t need to set it.
- Fiber optics Network Card:
This is a very expensive and complex type of network card. This network card is popular for its high-speed support. It is used for network traffic handling on the server network. It can also be used to combine multiple network cards.
Components of Network Card
The network cards consist of some devices. This card mainly contains a controller, boot ROM socket, NIC ports, motherboard, LED indicators, profile bracket. Again, there are also some electronic components.
The main component of the network cards is the controller. The controller works like a mini CPU. It is used to process the received data. In the network adaptor, the controller determines how the adaptor will perform.
- Boot ROM socket:
The boot ROM socket enables the boot ROM to work properly. This component connects the network with the workstations like the mainframe, supercomputer, or personal computer without any disk. This is used for increasing the security and it helps to lower down the cost of the hardware.
- NIC port:
The network interface port (NIC) port is used to connect the ethernet cable or transceiver directly. This port mainly generates and receives electronic signals. After receiving the signal, the port puts it on the network or fiber cable.
- Bus interface:
This interface is on the circuit board. It is placed on one side of the board. It is used to serve the connection between the network cards and computer by plugging into the expansion slot.
- LED indicator:
This LED indicator is used to identify the working status of a network card. It indicates when the network is connected to the server and data is transmitted successfully. So, it is very helpful to the users to confirm the connection of the network properly.
- Profile bracket:
There are mainly two types of profile brackets available. One profile bracket is known as a full-height bracket. This full-height bracket is about 12 cm long. Another profile bracket is the low-profile bracket. It is 8 cm long. This profile bracket is used to fix the network cards in the expansion slot.
The network cards have a speed rating device. It determines the performance of the network cards and rates it in Mbps. When the card is implemented in a network of the computer with bandwidth, it shows the speed of the card. When multiple computers or network cards are connected with a lower bandwidth, then the labeled speed will slow down. The average network cards are offered in 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps, and 1 Gbps.
The driver is a required software that allows us to pass data between the operating system of the computer and the network card. If you install the card, the corresponding driver will automatically download it to your computer. You have to update the drivers and keep them uncorrupted to ensure optimal performance.
- MAC address:
MAC addresses have to be unique and unchangeable. This address is also known as a physical network address. This address is used for delivering ethernet packets to the computer.
The router is very useful to connect the computer to other devices by wireless signals. The card connects the router to indirectly connect to the internet.
The network card affects the transfer of the data of the network. So, you should have a clear concept on this card. You should know about the components and the functions of the card before purchasing it.