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A Network Interface Card (NIC) is a computer hardware component that allows a computer to connect to a network. NICs may be used for both wired and wireless connections.
A NIC is also known as a network interface controller (NIC), network interface controller card, expansion card, computer circuit board, network card, LAN card, network adapter or network adapter card (NAC).
Most new computers have either Ethernet capabilities integrated into the motherboard chipset, or use an inexpensive dedicated Ethernet chip connected through the PCI or PCI Express bus. A separate NIC is generally no longer needed. If the card or controller is not integrated into the motherboard, it may be an integrated component in a router, printer interface or USB device.
Typically, there is an LED next to the connector informing the user if the network is active or whether or not data is being transferred on it. Depending on the card or motherboard, transfer rates may be 10, 100, or 1000 Megabits per second.