Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #156 7/4/2012

Question: What is a Network Interface Card?


Network Interface Cards connect your computer to the network or Internet. Network Interface Cards are also called NICs and network cards.

The Network Interface Card goes inside your computer and has the jack on it that you plug to your network or the box (router/modem) that connects you to the Internet. It has a jack on it that looks like a large telephone jack (where you plug your phone to the phone line). The phone plug is RJ-11 and the one for networks is RJ-45. The phone cord has the ability for 6 little wires in the cable and the network cable has 8 little wires in it.

The Network Card takes the signal from the network/Internet and changes it to a signal that the computer understands and does the opposite when sending information from the computer.

Sometimes the network card is made as a part of the motherboard (the main circuit board in the computer that has all the computer hardware components). On desktop PCs the network card is usually separate, and on laptops it is usually built in the motherboard.

Network cards can work with wired networks using a RJ-45 jack and you can also get network cards that work with wireless networks (the signal is transmitted thru the air). On a wireless network card you will not find a network jack but will see an antenna attached to the card.

Many computers and networks today use wireless, although there are plenty of wired networks. The advantage of wireless is you are not limited to just where the wire plugs in the network. Wired networks work faster and are securer.

You can purchase network cards at office supply stores, computer stores and large discount stores like Walmart and K-Mart.