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Network card

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(Redirected from Network interface card)
A transitional network card with both BNC "" (left) and Twisted pair (right) connectors.
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A transitional network card with both BNC "Thinnet" (left) and Twisted pair (right) connectors.

A network card (also called network adapter, network interface card, NIC, etc.) is a piece of computer hardware designed to provide for computer communication over a computer network.

Whereas network cards used to be expansion cards to plug into a computer bus, most newer computers have a network interface built into the motherboard, so a separate network card is not required unless multiple interfaces are needed or some other type of network is used.

The card implements the electronic circuitry required to communicate using a specific physical layer and data link layer standard such as ethernet or token ring. This provides a base for a full network protocol stack, allowing communication among small groups of computers on the same LAN and large-scale network communications through routable protocols, such as IP.

A network card typically has a twisted pair, BNC, or AUI socket where the network cable is connected, and a few LEDs to inform the user of whether the network is active, and whether or not there is data being transmitted on it.

Notable manufacturers

See also

es:Tarjeta de red nl:Netwerkkaart pl:Karta sieciowa pt:Placa de rede sk:Sieťová karta sv:Ntverkskort ru:Сетевая плата

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