Network adapters used in devices that connect to Local Area Networks (LANs) are also known as Ethernet Cards or Network Interface Cards (NICs). Ethernet cards are designed to work with cables supporting the Ethernet standard for high-speed networks.
Basic Ethernet Card Categories
Several form factors exist for Ethernet cards, which are standard packages meant for use over a range of network mediums.
- Older PCs had ISA cards as their network interface standard.
- Manufacturers of the PCI standard preinstall contemporary Ethernet cards.
- Laptop and mobile computers use the smaller PCMCIA Ethernet cards, which are the size of credit cards. A PC card is a typical PCMCIA card, inserted into a device slot. However, only a few PCMCIA cards support the Ethernet standard.
- Another contemporary Ethernet card comes in the form of an external USB Ethernet adapter, which resembles a small box on the outside. These cards are in use by video game consoles, desktop computers or any other device which does not feature a PCMCIA slot.
Operational Abilities of PCMCIA Cards
Ethernet cards support different types of protocols and operate at different network speeds. The maximum speed that was supported by older Ethernet cards was 10 Mbps. However, more modern Ethernet adapters support up to 100 Mbps speeds. The 100 Mbps speed refers to the Fast Ethernet Standard. Some Ethernet standards also offer Gigabit speeds, up to 1 Gbps or 1000 Mbps.
Wi-Fi is not a feature of a traditional Ethernet card. However, devices on a home Ethernet network can still connect with broadband routers. These routers can allow communication with other Wi-Fi devices through the router interface.