NIC represents as network interface card or a network interface controller or LAN card. Why do we even use a card in a network? What’s the use of this hardware component to even use in the network. Doesn’t we only use cables, devices or terminals, packets or data, or servers, routers, hubs, switches, and bridges?

Not only those, but we also use hardware components like NIC in this article.

What is Network Interface Card (NIC)

NIC is a card, is a physical unit which is a device that helps to link a terminal or a node over a network. It supports the transmission rate of 10, 100, and 1000Mbps.

There consists of an ethernet port and Rj45 cable.

Network Interface Card

We will connect our laptops and computers every time with a LAN cable for accessing the internet.

To gain this, the male rj45 connector of the LAN cable is connected to the female rj45 port that exists in our PC’s.

This rj45 female port is submerged in a separate circuit. There comes this circuit, this circuit itself is called to be a network interface card. So this is a separate card that helps by making connections possible and allows for communication. The

communication is through different computers, these computers will be sharing data among them. NIC is also derived as Network adapters.

This acts as an interface between the device and the network. Not only making it possible for communication but this also provides an identity to the computer this is the additional feature about it. As this consists of MAC address along with it. This identity is given by MAC address.

The network controller contrivance the electronic circuitry for the necessity to commune by the usage of specific layers called physical layer and datalink standards that maybe as ethernet or as wifi.

It produces a full stack of network protocols by permitting communication between a large scale and small set of computers in a network. For large scale communication, routable protocols are used like IP, and for a small set of computers, LAN is utilized.

Example of NIC (Network Interface Card)

Let’s explain this NIC by considering one such example, and in what way data transfer over the network is done.

Take two PC’s which wants to connect, these PC’s are having the NIC that is already built-in it or installed in the motherboard, and the wired cable is connected to the computer on both ends attached.

The information on the computer can be on traverse on the network by only means of the NIC.

Network Interface Card Example

Consider another example, if it consists of multiple devices that want to connect, then the switch or router is placed through which our device ethernet cables are connected to the switch, and by linking them, a local network is structured.

NIC is the crucial hardware unit for the connection of a network. They are pre-built and installed in our devices such as computers, servers, or any other terminals that can allow for linking up with another node on a network.

The exclusive path is provided and possible for network connection to the nodes by the installation of the circuit board. For a sequence of connections possible through the network, even the switch and routers will be maintaining the NIC card. So this statement includes that it can be of any device if it wants to connect to the network must be installed with a NIC card.

And also the connection is only possible when the other side of the device is also installed with the NIC card.

The MAC address which is present in the NIC is having 48-bit individual serial numbers and this MAC address is kept reserved in the ROM that was lugging along with the card. The condition to make a possible connection through the network was having at minimum one NIC within devices.

The speed rating of every NIC is possessed with 11 Mbps, 100 Mbps, etc, Where it determines the performance of every NIC.

Working of Network Interface Card (NIC)

The physical unit is a card that holds the MAC address which aids to give our device an identity on the network.

It performs like a man in the middle between the device or node and the network. Network Interface Card chores can be seen on two types of layers which are, physical layer and the data link layer. It holds the power of data exchange that is the computer’s information on a network. If the data is arriving from the medium of the network the data is first received by the NIC card.

Having the MAC address of 48 bit which is precisive into two forms of 24 and 24 bits.

The first 24-bits are provided by the IANA which means, an internet assigned number authority, and this number is called OUI (organizationally unique identifier)

and the next 24-bits are vendor-specific.

for example, 35:47:AE: EF:01:43 is the mac address. where 35:47:AE is the OUI and the EF:01:43 is the vendor-specific.

NIC can perform two kinds of operations at the ends. Along with transmitting the data it also receives at another end.

Let us see in which way both the operations are conceived.

The transmission of the data with Network Interface Card

The data which is going outside of the device that is transmitting, it first sends the data or packets to the network protocol.

These network protocols are maybe internet protocols like IP and from the network protocols, it goes to the buffer. These network protocols and buffers are existing on the NIC card itself.

When we consider the frame relay we could see the transfer of the data is achievable by the source and the destination addresses, these two types of addresses are integrated as a frame header. The source address is the one that sends the data and the destination addresses are the ones that receive it.

After forming the header which consists of both the addresses the CRC is calculated. CRC is merely known as a cyclic redundancy check that calculates and trace out the errors. This checksum is associated with few bits we can see this in the frame relay concept. Where it holds over a numerical digit, its main aim if tracing the errors is strong. The transmission of the data is in the form of frames, that are sent on to the network medium and these are in the format of the bit signals.

Receiving of data at another side of NIC

The bits that are transmitting from the sender side are in the form of bit signals. These bit signals will be traversed throughout the network medium and received by another side of the Network Interface Card. The bits that are received are modified into a frame.

Where the receiving process is quite reverse to the transmission process we can see that.

So, after modifying into the frame the second most task is performed which is CRC.

This means, the checksum is performed and the calculation is done. It checks whether the received bits are the same as the transmitted ones and at the frame trailer the comparison is possible for the CRC.

If the transmitted and received bits are different then we need to conclude this statement by saying, the frame is disfigured and damaged or changed. And lastly, the frame will be get ridden.

If the check done by the CRC is good then the next process of checking the destination MAC address is seen, if the frame which is reached the correct destination or not.

Once the validation of two addresses is confirmed and verified then the header and the trailer are drawn out or eliminated from the frame and the packet is taken out from the frame.

Then this packet is sent to the protocol which means, network protocol and the process of the packet.

Check NIC

To see if our device Network Interface Card is working or not go to the command prompt in our device. You can also type cmd in the search bar then give a reference as PING Then some bytes are shown along with other data such as packets that are sent and also the packets that are received will be shown.

If no data or packet is lost it will be 0%.

In this manner, the accurate result will be given so that we can confirm our device NIC card is working.

Various ports can be seen in network adaptor cards, often we observe the rj45 connector and these tend to take the ethernet cables like cat5, cat5e, cat6, and cat6e.

And also in NIC, there are SFP ports as well as SC, LC, GBIC ports that allow fiber optic cables to connect with them.

Types of NIC (Network Interface card)

The NIC card can be a wired and wireless and even USB NIC,

  1. Wired NIC, For sharing the data between different computers, if we use a LAN cable for connections then we are using the wired NIC. Which is placed inside the motherboard of the computer or a laptop. If the NIC is wired then it works in an analog and digital frequency manner.These devices can be linked by using ethernet cable. An example of a wired ethernet card is a 1000 Base T NIC and a fiber optic NIC. The NIC that is embedded in the motherboard of the laptops can also be connected with help of rj45 cable to the port.

Wired NIC standards are 5- Base T, 10- Base T, 100- Base T, and Gigabit ethernet.

internal network cards are subdivided into two categories,

the first category uses the PCI connection which means, peripheral component interconnect, and the second category uses ISA which means industry standard architecture.

b)Wireless NIC cards have a small antenna along with them, those are used to communicate with the access point by making use of radio waves. This antenna is used to connect with wireless modem like a router for internet access. On the other hand, if we want this to be possible in a wireless mode for achieving internet access and sharing of data the wireless Network Interface Card is utilized. The wireless can be communicated in the way of frequency that is radio-frequency. For eg, we connect our devices like phones and laptops through the wireless interface card that means a wireless NIC.

So, the significance of Network Interface Card is to be required to connect with the internet.

Now we are in a position to surf the internet because of the NIC card itself. This NIC card is present in our devices in which we are using right now. The laptops which doesn’t have any internal network card utilizes the external network cards or USB. When external network cards are utilized they need to be inserted into the motherboard. Moreover, no network cable is essential for connecting to the network. They are very useful because those are portable.

Wireless NIC card has an example like FDDI that is fiber data digital interface. This is used for transmission of longer distance.

  1. USB NIC is in the form of external. These are inserted in the USB ports.

Features of NIC 

Transfer of data to another system.

The data is being arranged in the computer for the network cable purpose.

The data will be sent and received between the cables, this data is being translated into the byte form. The processing of these bits can be done by the computer’s CPU easily.

The data flow can be managed between the cabling device and the computer.

To get differentiate between the other networks NIC also assigns an address to its network and these addresses are contributed by IEEE for each manufacturer of Network Interface Card.

The data which is traveling over a network cable is converted in an understandable form to the computers.

It acts as an interface or as a man in the middle between computer and network.

Advantage of NIC

The data transfer is highly reliable among the nodes.

Large amount of data can be shared or transferred between multiple users.

The internet speed for communication making possible is usually high in gigabytes.

By utilizing many ports of NIC cards that are provided, several peripherals can get plugged.

Disadvantage of NIC

Security is little low.

To make fine communication the configuration should be accurate.

When wired cables are use in Network Interface Card portability is not sustainable and cause troubles.

Security in NIC

We can able to identify as far as possible by who accesses or hacked our data, with certain standards which are possessed by manufacturers.

LAN standards

These standards are utilized by the various manufacturers so as to design and configure the types of equipment that provides security. These standards are put to use so that they can work in conjunction with each other without any special layouts or configurations.

These standards are already heard by many of us. The set of standards are included as follows,

ANSI, observes the process of creation of standards to provide the best services. And These are not for profit or also called voluntary organizations that help out the SDO’s. It monitors the entities which are private and private of American national standards and also generates the evaluation process for SDO’s to make it useful for development.

SDO’s means, standard developing organizations. ANSI is named the American national standards institute. It is representative of the US to ISO.

ISO is an international organization that is non-governmental to guarantee the safety and effectiveness of products and resources. The ISO is the international organization for standardization which initiates standards for network operations.

EIA/TIA is derived as an electronic industries alliance or Telecommunication industry association. This haves the standards of 568A and 568B. This is an industry-based standards group.

IEEE standards are an institute of electrical and electronic engineers standards that is an international professional organization. This organization coordinates communication standards. In a local area network, the standards are set up for cabling and data transmission that is a set of standards of IEEE project 802.

Summary of Network Interface Card

In the mid-1980s, Richard Bennett, Tim Rock, and others developed a star-LAN that is upon the basis of 5BASET Ethernet. And in late 1981, 3com has also built the first 10 Mbps ethernet adapters.

The first meeting was held at Jackson Hole in 1996 regarding the Network Interface Card by Tony Zador.

In those beginning years, the NIC is commonly referred to as expansion cards that are injected into a computer bus.

Now, computers and laptops are inbuilt with the NIC into the motherboard along with advanced features of direct memory access interfaces to the host processors.

So, these will be supporting the multi receive and transmit queues capabilities.

Second Explanation of Network Interface Card

NIC is short for the Network Interface Card, or Network Interface Controller is a device that helps the computer to connect with other computers on the network. NIC allows a computer to exchange the data, information, and resources with the computer. To know what is a Network Interface Card keep reading this article till the ends.

To establish the connection, network interface cards use a suitable protocol, e.g. CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Domain) and the network card usually implements the first two layers that are the physical layer, and the data link layer of the OSI Model.

The older network protocols such as ARCNET, LocalTalk or Token Ring were using earlier, but today, Ethernet is using on a large scale.

How NIC Cards works

NIC cards are effectively the center-man between your computer and also the network. It is responsible for translating information on the pc into a type that may be transferred via a network cable or wireless network signal. NIC cards also manage the data or information because it is distributed to different devices on the network.

Multiqueue NICs provide multiple transmit and receive queues, and let the packets received by the NIC to be assigned to one of its receive queues. The Network Interface Card can distribute incoming traffic between the receive queues by using a hash function.

Types of NIC Cards

There are mainly two types of Network Interface card with specific configuration types:

  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi


The Ethernet Network Interface Card is a wired NIC that is mostly used in a LAN, MAN, and WAN Networks, and today it is the most commonly used NIC in the world. It was first commercially introduced in 1980 and it is invented by the Robert Metcalfe. Initially, Ethernet could support up to 10 Megabits/Seconds (10 Mbps) and now this is greatly improved. Today it has gone as far as 10 Gbps (Gigabits/second).

Most of the time, an ethernet card is mainly integrated on the motherboard of every latest desktop or laptop motherboard release but, in older or some cases, you actually need to install an extra network card into your motherboard.


Wi-Fi – Wireless Network Interface Card is a wireless network technology that allows devices to communicate over a wireless signal. In this type of NIC, a wireless radio wave-based computer network allow connecting the devices without using the NIC cables, rather than cable radio waves are used for that.

Jumper Configurable NIC Cards

Jumper configurable NIC cards are common in older computers and do not tend to be used with most computers made after 2003. this sort of NIC card has physical jumpers. Physical jumpers are small devices that manage the computer hardware devices without the need for software and these determine the setting for the interrupt request line input/output addresses, upper memory block and type of transceiver. This NIC card is more likely to fail because of relying on these physical jumpers so, you may need to replace these more often than the other types.

Software Configurable NIC Cards

After the jumper configurable cards Software configurable Network Interface Card was the next innovation in NIC Cards. These cards need a manual configuration with a computer software created by the NIC card manufacturer. you can install these types of NIC via the software by following the manufacturer’s directions. There is also an option if you want to have complete control over how the software manages your NIC Card. You can also choose the auto-configuration mode if you want to do but auto-configuration will determine what option works best and it is pre-configured.

Plug-and-Play Configurable NIC Cards

Unless your PC is very old, you will most likely be dealing with a plug-and-play NIC card. Because the name suggests, you plug the NIC card into your computer’s PCI port and it automatically installs itself without the need for additional software. while not the necessity for added computer code. you can still manually install the NIC Card by following the manufacturer’s directions on how to do that.

Future of Ethernet Cards

Ethernet cards are using on a large scale when cables remained the primary form of network access. However, ethernet offers consistently more reliable and effective connections than Wifi connection and hence remains popular as a built-in option for desktop computers and other relatively immobile computers, mobile devices, laptops, and tablets have shifted away from Ethernet and toward Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi Services expanded in workplaces, hotels, coffee shops, and the public places, and the decline of wired Ethernet connections has reduced the access to wired Ethernet and hence, has reduced the need for Ethernet cards.

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