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Network interface controller

Hardware component that connects a computer to a network / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A network interface controller (NIC, also known as a network interface card,[3] network adapter, LAN adapter or physical network interface,[4] and by similar terms) is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network.[5]

Quick facts: Connects to, Speeds, Common manufacturers...
Network interface controller
A 1990s Ethernet network interface controller card that connects to the motherboard via the now-obsolete ISA bus. This combination card features both a BNC connector (left) for use in (now obsolete) 10BASE2 networks and an 8P8C connector (right) for use in 10BASE-T networks.
Connects toMotherboard via one of:

Network via one of:

SpeedsFull-duplex or half-duplex:
  • 10 Mbit/s
  • 100 Mbit/s
  • 1 Gbit/s

  • 2.5 Gbit/s
  • 5 Gbit/s
  • 10 Gbit/s
  • up to 160 Gbit/s
Common manufacturersIntel
Broadcom (includes former Avago, Emulex)
Marvell Technology Group
Cavium (formerly QLogic)

Early network interface controllers were commonly implemented on expansion cards that plugged into a computer bus. The low cost and ubiquity of the Ethernet standard means that most newer computers have a network interface built into the motherboard, or is contained into a USB-connected dongle.

Modern network interface controllers offer advanced features such as interrupt and DMA interfaces to the host processors, support for multiple receive and transmit queues, partitioning into multiple logical interfaces, and on-controller network traffic processing such as the TCP offload engine.

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