Network Interface Card

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What Does Network Interface Card Mean?

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.

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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).

Techopedia Explains Network Interface Card

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.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.