A network interface card is also known as a network adapter, LAN adapter. Generally, it is a computer hardware that connects a computer to a computer network. Early network interface card were commonly implements on expansion cards. Because of lower cost of NIC cards, the newer computers have a inbuilt NIC in to the motherboard. In modern network interface cards it supports DMA interface to host processors, on controller network traffic processing. In 1990s, Ethernet network interface card which connects to the motherboard via new ISA bus. This combination card features both a BNC connector.


A network controller implements the electronic circuitry requires to communicate. Generally It uses specific physical layer and data link such as Ethernet or WI-FI. This card provides a base for a full network protocol stack, allowing communicate among computers on same local area network. But large scale network communicates through routable protocols, such as internet protocol. This NIC allows computers to communicate over a computer network either using cables or wirelessly. It provides a low level addressing system through the use of MAC addresses.


A network interface card were originally implement as expansion cards that plug into a computer bus. Because of The low cost of Ethernet standard means that most new computers have a network interface card inbuilt in motherboard. The capabilities of Ethernet are integrated into the motherboard chipset. It implements via low cost dedicate Ethernet chip. In most of the cases A separate network interface card is no longer requires.

A ethernet network controller type has an 8p8c socket where the network cable is connects. Older NICs also supplied BNC or AUI connections. Ethernet cards generally supports 10Mbit/s, 100Mbit/s Ethernet varieties. NICs are also available and as of November 2014 are beginning to be available on computer motherboard. Especially for fiber-optic communication, SFP and SFP+ modular are highly popular.

Network Interface Card, NIC Card


Multi queue NICs provide multiple transmit and receive queues. which allows packets receive by the NIC to be assign to receive queues. Using hash function it distribute traffic. Each receive queues are assigns separate interrupt. It disturbed improving performance by the network traffic received by a single NIC.

A hardware based distribution of the interrupts is refer as receive-side scaling(RSS). But purely software implementations also exist receive packet steering(RPS) and receive flow steering(RFS). If you guys wants to achieve performance improvements that can be achieve by routing interrupts requests to the CPUs. This technique improves locality of reference overall performance. Generally it reduce latency and better hardware utilization.

Advance Functionality

Using multi-queue NICs an additional performance improvements can be achieve by distributing traffic among different transit queues. By assigning different transmit queues to different CPUs and CPU cores. A internal operating system contentions can be avoided. Generally some products feature NIC uses SR-IOV virtualizations to divide a single 10 GB Ethernet into multiple bandwidth. An TCP offload engine is a technology uses in some NICs to offload processing. It is used with high speed network interface such as gigabit ethernet.

Types of NIC

Internal network card


There is a two different types of NIC cards are available. In internal network cards motherboard contains an extra slot for the network card where it can insert. It requires a network cables to provide network access. In internal network card has two types. A First type uses peripherals components interconnect (PCI) connections while the second type uses industry standard architecture (ISA).



External network card


Comparatively, An internal NIC consumes a lot of space. In desktop and laptops that do not have any internal NIC, it uses an external NICs. This external NICs have two types wireless and USB based. When it is a wireless network card it only needs to be inserts in to the motherboard. but however no network cable is requires to connect to the network. This is generally used in laptop computer because it is useful while traveling.



ALL NICs have speed rating in terms of Mbps that suggests the general speed of cards. If the band with this lower than the NIC the label speed will be slow down.



This requires a software that passes data between the computers OS and the NIC. drivers must need to be downloaded and stay updated to insure optimal performance from NIC.



Sometimes a router needs to enable communication between a computer and other devices. In this type of situation the NIC connects to router which connects to the internet.


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I'm Harikrushna Sangani, a software engineer and the face behind IT Tutorials Cloud. I'm passionate about all things tech and love sharing my knowledge with you through easy-to-follow tutorials and tips. Join me on IT Tutorials Cloud to level up your coding skills and stay updated on the latest in the tech world. Let's learn together! Harikrushna Sangani