Network cards, also called
Network Interface Cards
, are devices that
enable computers to connect to the network.
When specifying or installing a NIC, you must
consider the following issues:
If the network interface you are installing is
an internal device, bus compatibility must be
. The most
common bus system in use is the Peripheral Component Interconnect
(PCI) bus, but some older systems might still use Industry Standard
Architecture (ISA) expansion cards.
Network cards, like other devices, need IRQ and
memory I/O addresses. If the network card does not
correctly after installation, there might be a device conflict.
Today, the assumption is that networks use
twisted-pair cabling, so if you need a card for coaxial or
connections, you must specify this. Wireless network
cards are also available.
Even more than the assumption you are using
twisted-pair cabling is that the networking system being used is
Ethernet. If you require a card for another networking system such
as Token Ring, this must be specified when you order.
When working on a Token Ring network, you have
to ensure that all network cards are set to transmit at the same
speeds. NICs on an Ethernet network can operate at different
To install or configure a network interface, you
will need drivers of the device, and might need to configure it,
although many devices are now plug and play. Most network cards are
now software configured. Many of these software configuration
utilities also include testing capabilities. The drivers and
software configuration utilities supplied with the cards are often
not the latest available, so it is best practice to log on to the
Internet and download the latest drivers and associated
Integrated Services Digital Network
is a remote access and WAN technology that can be used
in place of a Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) dial-up link if it
is available. The availability of ISDN depends on whether your
local telecommunications service provider offers the service, the
quality of the line to your premises, and your proximity to the
provider's location. ISDN offers greater speeds than a modem and
can also pick up and drop the line considerably faster.
If ISDN is available and you do elect to use it,
a special device called an
ISDN terminal adapter
to connect to the line. ISDN terminal adapters can be add-in
expansion cards, external devices that connect to the serial port
of the system, or specialized interfaces built in to routers or
other networking equipment. The ISDN terminal adapter is necessary
because, although it uses digital signals, the signals are
formatted differently from those used on a LAN. In addition, ISDN
can create multiple communication channels on a single line. Today,
ISDN is not widely deployed and has been
by faster and
often cheaper technologies.