Network interface card (NIC)
Computers in a network often communicate and transfer data with each other. A client computer can request data from a server computer, and the server can transfer the requested data to the client. In typical networks, hardware devices known as network interface cards (NICs) are used by computer systems to enable them to communicate over networks with other computer systems. These network interface cards (NIC) are used in a wide variety of devices, including personal computers, switches, routers, hubs, bridges, and the like. A network interface card is an expansion board or peripheral card installed in, or coupled with, a computer that provides a connection to a computer network. The connection may comprise a physical connection or a wireless connection. A network interface card (NIC) typically provides a physical connection between a host and a network or networks, as well as providing media access control (MAC) functions that allow the host to access the network or networks. The MAC address is a physical identity necessary to identify a computer or equipment connected in a Local Area Network (LAN) and is used as an Ethernet address in the Ethernet LAN. The NIC accesses an Ethernet using a unique media access control (MAC) address allocated in a manufacturing stage while a host has its own Internet Protocol (IP) address corresponding to a hostname. Commonly, NICs are available as plug in devices that are connected to a computer's interface bus, or are built directly into a computer's motherboard.
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