NIC (Network Interface Card)

  • NIC stands for Network Interface Card. It is piece of computer hardware designed to allow computers to be connected in a LAN.
  • It is used to connect a computer to the network.
  • The card provides the interface to the media.
  • It is also known as network adapter or LAN adapter or network card.
  • Network cards used to be expansion cards that plug into the computer bus in the PCI (Peripheral slot interconnect) slot on the motherboard.

  • Nowadays in newer computers the network interface cards are built-in on the motherboard.
  • When building a LAN, a network interface card must be installed in each computer on the network and all NICs in the network must be of the same architecture.


  • For example, all must either be Ethernet cards, Token Ring cards :-
  • The NIC assigns a unique address called a MAC (media access control) to the machine.
  • The Macs on the network are used to direct traffic between the computers.
  • Cable must run from each network interface card to a central hub or switch.
  • The hub or switch acts like a relay, passing information between computers using the MAC addresses and allowing resources like printers and scanners to be shared along with data.

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