Computer Support For Network Interface Controller
Network Interface Controller or NIC in short form, is a networking device, used by a computer for communication through a network. It is the networking component, into which network cable is plugged. This device is also known as Network Adapter, Network Interface card and Local Area Network Adapter. It is installed in the host computer to enable the host to be connected to the Local Area Network. Some computers have built in NIC while the others have removable cards which could be replaced if any need like changing the baud rate or bandwidth arises.
Brief History Of NIC
Token Ring was the earliest network configuration and protocol designed and developed by IBM. Computers, connected through token ring network cards, use two different paths to transmit and receive data. Later on, 5 Base T networking standard,also known as Ethernet standard, was developed in early 1970s. Using this standard it was possible to transmit and receive data over a thick coaxial cable over a distance of 1km at a baud rate of 5 Mbits/second. After that, prolonged and painstaking research for more than one decade yielded the 10 Base T standard which was able to transmit and receive data through twisted pair of cables at a much higher baud rate . The twists also helped minimize electromagnetic interference. Then 100 Base T, Gigabit Ethernet and Fiber Data Digital Interface came in quick succession. 100 Base T standard , also known as fast Ethernet improved the baud rate considerably. Using the latest Gigabit Ethernet standard, it is possible to transmit and receive data at the baud rate of 1000 Mbits/second.
Working Principle Of NIC
Earlier the NIC used to be connected to the computer bus through expansion card.
Later, due to cheap price and easy availability, the NIC was integrated with the motherboard itself. Nowadays many latest motherboards come with dual integrated network interfaces. In some computers, network interface is implemented on a cheap dedicated Ethernet card, which is connected to the motherboard through PCI Express bus.
Network Controller uses multiple different methods to transmit and receive data,such as interrupt driven method, polling method, Direct Memory Access.
In the interrupt driven method, the peripheral generates interrupts when it receives data or when it is ready to transmit data. The polling method continuously monitors the peripherals to check whether any data has arrived or the peripheral is free to transmit data. In the Direct Memory Access method, the peripheral directly communicates to the memory chip and accesses data without the intervention of the microprocessor.
The typical Ethernet NIC comes with RJ45 socket, to which the network cable is connected. Earlier versions of NIC had AUI or BNC connectors mounted on the card. LEDs are used to indicate the status of the NIC.
Types Of NIC
There are multiple types of NIC based on connection types and speed capabilities,like 10/100 Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet,Fiber Optics Ethernet, Wireless Ethernet,etc.
10/100 Ethernet cards can transmit and receive data at the maximum speed of 100 Megabits/second. This type of NIC is typically used in small business enterprises or home based activities. Generally PCI,PCIe or ISA interfaces are used by these cards to connect to the computer motherboard.
Gigabit Ethernet cards are capable of data communication at the maximum speed of 1 Gigabits/second. These cards use mostly PCIe interface to connect to the motherboard.
Fiber optic NICs employ fiber optic cable to transmit and receive data at the maximum speed of 100 Gigabits/second.
Wireless Ethernet cards are connected to the main computer through wireless router.
Network Support For NIC
Network Controller Card has many components mounted on it. If any of the components goes bad, the entire card might start malfunctioning. In such eventuality, the Computer support from a recognized service provider could be of immense help to diagnose and rectify the problem. Nowadays many network support providers are rendering round the clock online services to resolve all sorts of networking issues.