Network adapter (network card)
A network adapter, network card, or NIC (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. In recent years, the computer and Internet are dramatically developed with a brisk step due to the improvement of the semiconductor industry, the computer and the communication techniques. Networks, such as local area networks (i.e., LANs) and wide area networks (i.e., WANs, e.g., the Internet), enable a plurality of nodes to communicate with each other. The network card allows the user to connect to the bus of World Wide Web or network. A network adapter is typically coupled with the host computer system through a shared data transfer resource, such as a peripheral bus or system bus. A device driver resident on the host computer controls, in conjunction with an operating system resident on the host, the physical functions of the network card and coordinates data transfers between the network card and host computer. The network adapter provides many services to the host computer system. These services include packet transmission and packet reception, as well as network adapter initialization, network adapter diagnostics, and network management functions. Network adapters involved in the transfer of data frames between a communications network and a host computer system typically notify the host processor of the completion of a data frame transfer. In some designs, the network card is a board that plugs into the backplane bus of the host computer system. In other designs, the network adapter is built into the CPU motherboard. The host computer system typically includes a device driver which operates the network adapter. The network card requires a device driver which controls the physical functions of the network card and coordinates data transfers between the card and the host operating system.
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