Internet network cards also known as Network Interface Card (NIC) is a hardware part, which is built into a computer provided with a slot, it directly links the computer to a computer network for communication with other computer devices via buses. The internet network cards go by various aliases namely; the LANs network adapter, an Ethernet adapter, or an Ethernet controller amongst others. The Network interface cards are compatible with a fair amount of globally standard buses for the transfer of data between computers.
The connectors or buses serve as an intermediary towards communication. It turns the communication shared between several devices from parallel communication to serial communication or serial communication to parallel communication. It also formats data based on the build of the network. This article takes an in-depth view of a wireless network interface card and its types.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks for the best network cards in 2021!
What is an Internal Network Card?
You must know what a network interface card is. This hardware component has the network controllers integrated on a circuit board that runs on the standard OSI model that communicates by making use of seven layers which it uses to receive and transmit communication signals to and fro between other devices, acting as a trans-receiver device.
If we want to interact with another device, let us assume the case of a client and server, where the communication between them takes place by firstly transmitting signals to the physical layers and sending network data packets to the network layers which function as a TCP/IP interface. On connecting to the motherboard, the following are used to establish a secure and working connection: the PCI-E, PCI or ISA connector, fire wires, Universal Serial Buses, and thunderbolt. While establishing a connection to the network, the following are used: Ethernet, Token Ring, ATM, and Wi-Fi.
Do You Need an Internal Network Card?
A network interface card functions to give room for a device to connect with the network of other devices. The NICs are usually used for devices that are connected to a centralized network or on devices that can successfully pair with other devices like the more decentralized wireless connections like the ad hoc that is not dependent on a prior existing centralized infrastructure. However, the Network Interface Cards is not the only hurdle you need to jump for your interface connections with other devices as the need for access into the internet requires you to also connect the NIC to an internet router which is then connected directly to the internet.
The Working Mechanism Of NICs With Computers
These Network Internet Cards establish secure connections with each other and communicate effectively over the same network by utilizing the network switch or better still if the two computers are connected directly. So when you have computers that are connected over varying networks, a router is used to function as a mediator to change the network routes to the same network space.
Where On The Computer Can I Find a Network Card?
It isn’t difficult to locate the network card on your personal computer. Most desktop computers have their network cards located near the USB ports, found most commonly on the onboard versions and for the standalone network card expansions it is almost always found at the back of the computer.
On laptops, however, the network cards are usually integrated into the system’s motherboard and the network card port is most commonly found on the side of your lappy. Still note that not all laptops come with network card ports as they might be tailor-made only for wireless network connections. This is not so much of a problem and if you want a network card working on your laptop that is void of one, you can always easily purchase a network card that can be easily installed into a PC SD card slot on your system.
Types of Network Interface Cards
There are three types of NIC they are:
- Wired (Ethernet) NIC
- Wireless Network NIC
1. Wired (Ethernet) NIC
Presently, the most commonly used local area network is Ethernet. The Wired NICs come with input jack slots that are made of Ethernet cables. NICs based on the Ethernet network can hit speeds of up to 10 to 1000 megabytes per second.
There are three standards in Ethernet connections:
- The 5-Base T: This Ethernet had its inception in the year 1973 and is able to transmit signals via a coaxial cable for large distances of up to 1000mts.
- The 10-Base T: 10_Base T was developed in 1987 and it makes use of very twisted cables like telephone wires to establish communication.
- The 100-Base T: This has recently been dubbed the fast Ethernet as it transmits data at great speeds.
- The Gigabit Ethernet: also known as the 1000-Base T possesses a special feature as it is capable of increasing the bandwidth of the network greatly and can conveniently transmit data at rates of 1000 megabytes in one second.
2. Wireless Network NIC
Up next is the wireless network NICs. They are inserted into the motherboard but for convenience and obviously, as the term “wireless” implies, they have no use of network cables. These NICs are specially modeled and designed to establish wireless/Wi-Fi connections. An example of a wireless network card is the FDDI (fiber data digital interface). They are great for transmitting data over very long distances and can translate data into digital pulses all the while establishing a communication network via the optical fiber.
These are the NICs that allow network connection on a device when it is plugged into the USB port. The wireless connection usually induces sluggish and annoying stops that can make your internet surfing experience frustrating when it acts up but the USB Ethernet NICs solve this problem on a direct connection to your computer.
What Should You Look For in A Network Card?
You should choose a network Interface card that can achieve speeds of up to 10-1000 megabytes per second. Each NIC you purchased comes with an already attached speed rating value. The speed of the Network Internet Cards is majorly categorized on the column of the value in a number of download speeds that can be conveniently carried out in one second. The cost of purchasing an NIC is dependent on its bandwidth range and its download speed.
For instance, in a scenario where the download speed is said about 54mbps and your acquired NIC supports such download rate but you have two devices connected over the same network, both downloading files simultaneously then the downloading speed would be shared into two halves and each device would get a download speed of 27 megabytes per second apiece.
Advantages of Network Cards
The Network Interface Cards provide the following benefits:
- Excellent communication speed.
- It is very much reliable.
- It provides multiple ports that allow the connection of other devices.
- With the NIC cards, bulk data can easily be shared among other users.
- Network Interface Cards provide a way to connect to the internet and create easy data flow.
- They also function to connect remote computers as well.
Disadvantages of Network Cards
The Network Interface Cards have the following downsides/demerits:
- The wired NICs are a bit messy because of the wires involved and can pose a certain level of inconvenience.
- It has a poor configuration for its communications.
- Insecure data connection: The data from the NICs are prone to hacks.
Here are our top 5 picks for Internal network cards;
1. ASUS XG-C100C Pci-E X4 Card with Single RJ-45 Port – Best Overall
The ASUS XG-C100C is a Network Card that makes use of next-generation 10GBase-T networking tech that can reach crazy speeds of up to 10 gigabytes per second which is fast. This NIC is also backward compatible and is way faster than the regular Gigabit Ethernet.
Why Is This The Best Internal Network Card In 2021?
Its efficiency and speed give it an edge over others with a 10X faster data transfer rate. Aside from its speed, it’s designed to be fully compatible with Windows and Linux. This NIC is tailor-made to be flexible on different operating systems of the likes of the Windows series dating back to version 7 and the Linux OS as far back as 3.2.
Furthermore, its price is very friendly for its specs which makes it cost-efficient.
2. TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 PCIe Wi-Fi Card for PC – Runner Up
This network card is very high-performing. It comes packed with goodies featuring; ultra-high speeds, very low latency, and a rarely interrupted internet connection that provides you with a great surfing experience, streaming, and speedy downloads. This network card comes highly recommended for online gamers. The Deep-Dive into VRWi-Fi 6 comes with a 1024-QAM and jumbo-sized 160 MHz bandwidth that functions to establish a more powerful and continuous Wi-Fi.
Applications like Virtual Reality are bandwidth demanding and require high network speeds which this NIC can provide without breaking a sweat.
3. TP-Link AC1300 PCIe Wi-Fi PCIe Card – Budget Pick
AC1300 PCIe Wi-Fi Card for desktop802. 11AC – the newly improved next-generation TP-Link’s Archer T6E very well supports the next-generation Wi-Fi standard – IEEE 802. The 11AC provides high transfer rates that are up to 3x faster than the wireless N speeds.
4. TP-Link 10GB PCIe Network Card (TX401) – Premium Pick
This network card has lightning speed reaching crazy rates of up to 10 billion bits per second which is about 10 times faster than the regular standard Gigabit Ethernet. Covers everything from downloads to streaming, high-end gaming, etc.
The Intel Wir-AC 9260 with an included IEEE 802. With 11ac standard antennas that support high-speed wireless connections of up to 1,733 megabytes per second.
With a BT5.1 Heat Sink, this NIC also delivers speeds of AX3000Mbps 2.4G/5.8Ghz for computer systems that are only compatible with the Windows 10 64 bit operating system.
The Intel Wireless-AC 9260 is capable of supporting Bluetooth 5 and the 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It can achieve really high speeds of up to 1.73 gigabytes per second.
These new features allow for a significant increase in the users’ internet speeds in dense deployments, supporting lightning-quick downloads and extended long-lasting battery life compared to the legacy 802.11ac devices.
Components of Network Interface Card
These are the major components of the NICs;
1. The External Memory
This component functions to store data and fetches the stored data upon request when it is prompted for use in the process of establishing communication.
The connectors are just as important as every other NIC component. They provide a direct link between the cables and the motherboard as commonly seen in connections of NIC cables for Ethernet.
The processors aim to convert the relayed data messages into signals so communications can be established with ease.
They possess different kinds of standard globally accepted buses.
This component functions to control communication operations by easily toggling off or on a switch.
6. MAC address
This address is uniquely designed and very specific for every network interface card. It is a sort of identity that makes each NIC peculiar. The MAC Address is also known to be the network’s physical address.
This is simply a device that allows you wireless access to the internet.
In conclusion, making a choice on the best internal network card solely depends on your budget, specific needs, and network requirements, put all into consideration and you’ll be sure to get a network card just right for you.