The Computer Network Card (Ethernet Card)

Computer Network Card

A computer network card is used by computers to commmunicate with each other. The common technical terms for a network card are: a network adapter, a network interface card (NIC), a LAN adapter, or a Ethernet Controller. However, in basic terms and without too much computer jargon, a network card is just the way a computer talks to another computer.

Information is processed by the CPU, sent to the network card, which outputs it to another computer through a hard wired cable, or through a wireless connection. Wireless connections run through a wireless network card.

lan port and the modem port see the differences

Now it is easy to get confused between a computer network card and a modem card, so look at the picture on the right, so you can tell the difference.

A modem card has a smaller connection and is becoming less common. A modem card is used for connecting to the internet through a dial-up connection and this has been superceded by a broadband connection which runs through a router, and connects to your computer through a network port, or through a USB connection.

The majority of modern motherboards have a network port built into them on the motherboard. This means that the network card is becoming extinct, but there are two reasons why they are still relevant.

  1. Firstly you may have an older computer and not have network port. In this circumstance you need to purchase a computer network card so that you can communicate and connect to other computers.
  2. The second reason, is that you have a network port, already but either it is broken, or not fast enough for your needs. Your network port may go to speeds of 10Mbits and you want 100Mbits or something like that.
lan port on the motherboard

What are common network speeds?

Common network speeds are: 10 Mbit/s, 100 Mbit/s, 1000 Mbit/s (Gigabit connection). The last connection ‘Gigabit’ or ‘Gbit’ is very fast.

How do you know if you have a network card?

  1. The first step is to look behind your computer and see if you have a network port, similar to the picture above. Make sure it is not a modem port, but definetely a network port. Your network port could be built in on the motherboard, or on a PCI network card. Once you have checked and confirmed that you have a network port you can move on to step 2.
  2. You need to check that your network card is visible and recognized by your computer. Click start, my control panel. Once that opens up click system, and select Device Manager. Scroll down to network adapters and view your network cards. Look for something that sounds like a network card, such as a ethernet controller, a network device, a LAN adapter or something on those lines. If you have something there, right click it and view properties. If the properties say that there is no problems detected with the device then your network is detected and as far as the computer can see is working fine. If you know that there is a network port on the back (that is built into the motherboard) but it doesn’t detect anything in device manager go to step 3.
  3. For this step you will need to restart and go into the BIOS setup. To do this, restart your computer and press Del, or F10, or a key that your computer specifies. Once you have entered setup, go to the advanced tab, or integrated peripherals tab or a tab that would be likely to contain details on computer components.
  4. The BIOS setup differs on every manufacturer. Once you have found your network port, check and see if it is enabled or disabled. If disabled change to enabled, then save changes and restart your computer. Go back to device manager and check if your network port is now viewable.

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