A+ Certification / Beginners

Working with network adapters

The most popular communication device found in computers today is the network card. A network card is a device that allows you to connect your computer to a network or the Internet, and is responsible for sending and receiving data on the network. Not only is the network card popular in systems found in the corporate world, but because of the popularity of highspeed Internet, you can also find them in a lot of home computers as well.

Network cards are categorized by their transfer rates. For example, a network card that can transfer 10 million bits of data per second is known as a 10 Mbps network card, while a network card that can transfer 100 million bits per second is known as a 100 Mbps network card.

It is important to note that the card will run at the highest common speed available between the two communicating devices. For example, if you connect your system to a 10 Mbps network hub, and your system has a 100 Mbps network card, then your card will run at only 10 Mbps. This is why most systems have what is called a 10/100 network card - the card can talk at either 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps.

Installing a network adapter (card)

When installing a network card, you first need to determine what type of interface you wish to use. There are a number of types of network cards that could be installed into the system: you could install a USB network card, an old ISA card for older computers, or more popular today is the PCI network card that is inserted into a PCI slot.

To install a network adapter, follow these steps:

  1. Power off the computer and be sure to ground yourself.
  2. Remove the cover from the computer.
  3. If necessary, remove the blanking plate that allows access to the modem from the back of the PC.
    This allows the network card to fit in the slot.
  4. Place the network card into the appropriate expansion slot.
    For example, you will most likely have a PCI card, so place the PCI network card into an available PCI slot.
  5. Screw the network card into place and put the cover back on the PC.
  6. Connect the network cable to the back of the network card.
  7. Power on the PC.
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