A Network Interface Card, or NIC, is a device that allows a PC to connect to a network. Network Interface Cards can be installed as separate devices, usually attached to a PC via its internal PCI or PCI Express slot, or via USB. However, almost all computers these days have a NIC built into the motherboard.
All NICs are uniquely identified by a Media Access Control, or MAC, address.
Typically a cable with an RJ45 connection (or more correctly, a 8P8C connection) is used to connect a NIC to other network devices. These cables can be referred to as Cat5, Cat5e or Cat6 cables. In addition, wireless NICs can be used to connect to a network without using any cables.
This guide will introduce you to network hardware, and show you how Network Interface Cards are used to create a network.
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