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Help re Understanding NIC


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#1
Carter Hayes

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Hi all, sorry if this sounds stupid but I am learning hardware on a course and for some reason this has stumped me a little. I know it probably sounds stupid to you guys but I am confused and could do with a simple explanation if possible.

Ok, I am curently on AOL Broadband using a DSL modem connected which connects to my USB port and phone line.

The thing I don't understand is that on this course they are saying to connect to the internet you must also have a NIC card installed? But I don't have a NIC card (have checked under device manager) and all I have is a GLOBESPAN USB ADSL Lan Modem and a PPPoEWIN Miniport listed there.


Can anyone explain what a NIC actually is and when someone would need to install one.? Ie Do you need a NIC for a home computer internet set up like mine? or are NIC cards ust used for business that need to connect to each other in some way? I'm confused.

Many thanks, and hope somone can assist me in simple terms!

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#2
jaxisland

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No questions are stupid first of all.

Now what is going on is it sounds like you have a USB connection to your modem, which acts like a dial up connection in windows.

What a Network Interface Card does is give you an RJ-45 connection on your PC. This is used on any network that uses ethernet cabling as its medium. For your specific case you do not need one, but if you just had a cable modem that connnects to your ISP through your cable tv, then you would run a cat5e patch cord from that to your computer and you would need a nic.

So the long and short of it is that for your very specific case you do not need one, but they are common in homes as well as businesses.

Let me know if that helps. :whistling:
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#3
Carter Hayes

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Wow! thanks for the fast reply!

Yeah you're right I have the Modem connected to the USB port and vice-cersa.

I just got stumped because the course paperwork sated that to connect to the net you need a NIC card. But I guess that's only in certain circumstances? Like, maybe if a small business needed to connect to each other in some way using an Ethernet network? That's probably wrong but any help you can give me re the basics of how and why you'd use a NIC card would be great!

Thanks, aain for the reply!

:whistling:
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#4
dsenette

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for future reference...with the rate of growth in technology...technical course books are almost always wrong...at least partially wrong...i had a book when i was in school (this was only 2 years ago) that claimed that thicknet was still a valuable networks sollution and that there was a "new" technology in the works regarding "communication between computers over radio waves"...the books are always behind the times...and when your book was written...there probably weren't any usb broadband modems on the market
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#5
jaxisland

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Basically you have to look at a network this way.

You are going to have some sort of "wire" coming from a service provider that gives you internet access, I will leave phone lines out because a majority of it is coax cable from your cable tv provider or now even fiber optic cables right to your home / business. Now when that comes in from the outside its going to go into a box could be a cable modem or a router, but the service provider will provide that. So I am only going to talk about the network inside from that box becuase that is where the NIC card operates.

So in order for a computer or multiple computers to reach the internet through that box they need to be connected together using something, which is usually ethernet cable which is CAT5, CAT5E, CAT6 with a RJ-45 plug on it.

So what you do is take either a hub, unmanaged switch, or managed switch and place it on your network. So you connect your internet box to the WAN port of that with an ethernet cable. Now you have to run ethernet cables from that hub or switch to the local PC, you do this also with an ethernet cable and that plugs into a NIC card.

What the NIC card does is plug into usually a PCI slot in your PC and converts the information from your PC to the actualy electrical impulses that will travel across the wire. It is the bridge between the cable network and the information on your computer.

This is where the OSI model comes in handy. http://www.3mfuture....el-7-layers.png
That link is a picture of what I am talking about. The NIC card is at the very bottom. Thats basically what a NIC card does.

Now there are more than just ethernet NIC cards and ethernet cable, but this is the most common method and easiest to explain.

If you have any questions on any of this let me know and I will clarify it for you.
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#6
Carter Hayes

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Hi there, thanks for replying again to all.

I'll read up on it and try and understand it all abit more.

Thanks,

:whistling:
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