Introduction to Computer Network Adapters

A network arranger allows an electronic device, like a computer or laptop, to interface with a local computer network. They can work with cable connections, like those including an Ethernet cable ; wireless ones, which use routers ; or both .

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Types of Network Adapters

A network arranger is a unit of measurement of calculator hardware. respective types of hardware adapters exist :

  • Many new computers contain integrated (built-in) wireless network adapter chips.
  • A USB network adapter plugs into a standard USB port to enable computer network connections (typically Wi-Fi or Ethernet).
  • A wireless game adapter (sometimes called a “media adapter”) connects to older game consoles or other home entertainment products, providing a bridge to Wi-Fi wireless capability.
  • On older PCs, a PCI adapter (often called a NIC) was a type of add-in card installed inside a desktop personal computer. A variant PCI adapter called “PC Card” (also known as PCMCIA cards) inserted into the side of a notebook computer to provide similar capability.

Adapters are necessary when building a network. Every common arranger supports either Wi-Fi ( wireless ) or Ethernet ( wired ) standards. Special-purpose adapters that support very specialized network protocols besides exist, but these are not found in homes or most business networks .

How to Know Whether a Network Adapter Is Present

Newer computers often include a net adapter when sold. Determine whether a computer already possesses a network arranger as follows :

  • In both desktop and laptop computers, look for an RJ-45 jack on the back of the computer. The RJ-45 jack appears similar to a phone line jack but is slightly larger.
  • In notebook computers, look for a thin, removable metal device roughly the size of credit card.
  • For notebook computers running Windows that may contain integrated adapter chips, open the Windows Device Manager. Access Device Manager from the Hardware tab of the System Properties section of Windows Control Panel.
  • In any type of computing device, look for a small external device with LED lights connected to a USB port

Purchasing a network Adapter

You can buy a network adapter individually from most manufacturers that supply routers and other forms of network equipment. When purchasing a network arranger, some prefer to choose the brand of arranger that matches their router. To accommodate this, manufacturers sometimes sell one or two network adapters together with a router in a pack called a home network kit out. technically, however, network adapters all offer very similar functionality according to the Ethernet or Wi-Fi standard they support .

Installing a Network Adapter

Installing any net arranger hardware involves two steps :

  1. Connecting the adapter hardware to the computer.
  2. Installing any required software associated with the adapter.

For PCI adapters, first baron down the calculator and unplug its world power cord before proceeding with the facility. A PCI arranger is a card that fits into a hanker, narrow slot inside the computer. The computer ‘s case must be opened and the card firm inserted into this time slot .

You can attach other types of network adapter devices while a calculator is running normally. Modern computer operating systems mechanically detect newly connected hardware and complete the basic software facility required .

Some network adapters, however, additionally require custom software initiation. Such an arranger will much be accompanied by a cd-rom containing the installation media or the web address you can use to download it free from the manufacturer ‘s Web site .

Software installed with a network arranger includes a device driver that allows the operational organization to communicate with the hardware. In addition you may besides receive a software management utility that provides a user interface for advanced shape and trouble-shoot of the hardware. These utilities are most normally associated with Wi-Fi radio receiver net adapters .

You can normally disable a network adapter through its software. Disabling an arranger provides a commodious alternative to install and uninstalling it. Wireless network adapters are full disabled when not in use, for security reasons .

virtual Network Adapters

Certain types of network adapters have no hardware component but consist of software only. These are much called “ virtual adapters ” because they do n’t have a physical, hardware part. virtual adapters are normally found in virtual private networks ( VPNs ). Research computers or IT servers that run virtual car technology may besides use them.


The network arranger is an necessity component in both wire and radio receiver computer network. Adapters interface a computer science device ( including computers, print servers, and game consoles ) to the communication network. Most network adapters are little pieces of physical hardware, although software-only virtual adapters besides exist. sometimes you have to buy a network arranger individually. Often, however, the adapter is already function of a device, specially if it ‘s newer. Installing a network arranger is not unmanageable and much is a simple “ plug and play ” feature of speech of the calculator operating system .

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