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Network Interface Card (NIC)

Network Interface Card (NIC)

The NIC is a physical and logical link for a PC to a network. It is installed inside the computer in an open expansion slot. NICs are available for most of the expansion bus architectures, so getting a card for an available slot is easy. The most commonly used bus for NICs is the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) bus, but many legacy ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) cards are still in use.

The setup that is needed for the NIC is controlled by two factors: the PC itself and the Network Operating System (NOS), such as Windows NT/2000 or Novell NetWare. The NIC is a translator that works between the network and the PC. Networks transmit data in a serial data format (1 bit at a time), and the data bus of the PC moves data in a parallel format (8 bits at a time). The NIC acts as a go-between to convert the signal from serial to parallel format or from parallel to serial format, depending on its direction. The NIC also formats the data as required by the network architecture.

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