What is NIC (Network Interface Card)? How NIC works?

In this article, we will discuss What is NIC (Network Interface Card)?, How NIC works? and Components of NIC. So let’s discuss.

What is Network Interface Card?

NIC means network interface card is a hardware component, install in computer devices, used to connect a computer to the network. So to create a network, NIC has a very important role.

It is the most necessary hardware component for a network connection, install in computers, servers, printers, or any other devices that allow a device to connect with other devices on a network.

It is a very basic network hardware component, which provides a network interface, without it a computer cannot be connected to any device on the network.

Any device which wants to connect to the network must contain a NIC card, even switch and routers also consist network interface card (NIC) in order to connect to the networks.

NIC install in one computer is used to communicate with other NICs which installs to another computer.

For example:

If I have a computer and I want to connect to a network. So to connect my computer with other computers or to connect with the internet, I need a NIC card installed in my computer, which provides my computer a unique MAC address, which helps to connect to the network.

Another Example, If I have a company where have 100’s of computers and I want to create a local network in my company than I need NIC card in every computer or laptop so all computers can connect with each other. So NIC card provides us a network interface.

Network Interface cards may be used for both wired and wireless connections.

Every NIC card contains a unique MAC address that can never change because their address is assigned at the factory where NIC manufactured.


How NIC Works?

It is a physical card or chip, which contains MAC addresses, helps to identify the device on the network.

NIC works on the physical layer and the data-link layer. It acts as a middleman between your computer and the data network. It is responsible to exchange the computer’s data with a network.  Any incoming data that comes from the network medium is received by the NIC.

How NIC transmits the data?

  • For outgoing data, first the network protocol transfers a packet to the buffer, present on the NIC card.
  • Then the source and destination MAC address are attached as the frame header and calculate the CRC.
  • CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Code) is a numerical value, is a powerful type of checksum, which has the purpose of detecting errors.
  • Lastly, NIC transmits frames onto the medium as bit signals.

How NIC received the data?

  • Bit signals travel along with the medium and are received by the NIC, then the received bits are formatted into a frame.
  • First, the CRC (a type of checksum) is calculated and compared to the CRC in the frame trailer.
  • If they don’t match that means the frame is damaged or changed and the frame is discarded.
  • If the CRC is okay, then the destination MAC address is checked.
  • Once the MAC address is checked and verified, the frame header and trailer are removed and the packet comes out from the frame, which is sent to the network protocol for further processing.

Read Also: Computer Network MCQ with Explanation


What are the other names of NIC?

Network interface controller, Ethernet card, LAN Card, network adaptor, network adaptor card, Ethernet controller, physical network interface card, connection card, etc. all the name refers to NIC, So no matter what names the NIC has, they all refer to the circuit board, that gives the functionality any computer device to be connected to the network.

What are the components of NIC?

Controller: It is a processor, which is the core part of the NIC. Every data transmission from the computer to the network is done by the processor.
External Memory: It works like a buffer or RAM, used to store the data temporarily for the processor.
LED indicators: It’s a simple LED light that helps to identify the working status of a NIC card.
MAC address: It is a unique address, which is attached to the frame. It gives a unique identity to the computer also called physical network address.
NIC ports: NIC ports are used to connect with an Ethernet cable directly. Normally NIC has only one port, but they also come in more than one port.

What is MAC address?

MAC address is a physical address that is assigned by the manufacture on a network interface card (NIC), use to uniquely identify a device on a network.
It is called a physical address because it is physically assigned to a device called network interface controller (NIC).
It is a 48-bit address, consist of six sets of two characters in hexadecimal numbers, every set contains 8 bits address, separated by a colon: 2A:1B:55:23:5A:B3.


You can also Read:  

What is Hub in Networking? and How it Works?

What is Switch in Networking?

What is Router? and How does it Works?

What is Modem in Computer Network? and How Modem works?


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