NIC – Network Interface Card

NIC (network interface card) is a gadget that works as a bridge between computers. In other words, this piece of equipment is used to join together multiple computer systems in a local area network (LAN). Though, networked computers are required protocols and agreed-upon communication languages in order to correspond with each other and for transmitting data packets on these machines. That means network interface card is very important to link the computers so data can be sent and received on them within a LAN. So while constructing a LAN, NIC must be fitted into each communicating computer within that network. Moreover, all installed NICs in this network must have the same designs and architectures. Ethernet cards and Token Ring cards are the best examples of these technologies.

For your information, a network interface card (Ethernet card) will be installed in the computer’s slot. Though lots of network technologies other than Ethernet exist but it is in practice near-ubiquity since the year 1990. Likewise, each Ethernet network controller is having a unique address of 48 bits serial numbers which is known as MAC (media access control) address. Like a home address, MAC addresses are used to move ahead traffic to a computer over a network. But these addresses are stored up in the computer’s ROM (read only memory).

The network interface card allows the computers of a network to communicate as OSI layer 1 and layer 2 hardware devices. It also makes possible the physical contact with a network’s resource or other medium. With NIC a low-level addressing structure with the use of MAC addresses becomes possible. It as well permits the computers users to establish a connection with each other by using cables or else to communicate wirelessly.

The network interface card back plate is featured a port with it and that port is able to accommodate an Ethernet cable that must have to run through from every NICs towards either the central hub or else the switch. Actually, hubs or switches are used to pass data and information between a network’s computers with the help of MAC addresses. So whenever you will go to buy the LAN components, make sure first that the NICs have the similar capabilities as a hub or a switch of that network has. So NIC for a wireless network can’t chatter with a wired hub or switch and vice versa. Anyhow, for the greater speed and best performance of the network, try to use the newer versions of hardware.

NIC as a controller put into practice to that electronic circuitry which is must for the communication within a network. Well, computers contacts with each other become possible with the layer 1 (physical layer) and layer 2 (data link layer) standards like Ethernet and Wi-Fi. And as the base of the network’s protocol stack, that rule permits the communication within similar LAN small groups of computers. But for the big networks communication, routable protocols as IP are required.

Following are the 4 possible techniques that can be used by NIC to transfer the data:

  1. Polling
  2. Programmed Input/output (I/O)
  3. Interruption driven I/O
  4. Direct memory access

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