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Chapter 3. NETWORKING HARDWARE > Working with Network Interface Cards

Working with Network Interface Cards

As far as networking is concerned, the network interface card (NIC) is one of the most important PC devices. Each computer on the network (including servers and clients) requires one, and it is the NIC that provides the connection between the PC and the network's physical medium (such as copper or fiber-optic cable, both of which are discussed in the next chapter).

An IBM PC (or compatible PC) typically requires that a NIC be added to it (unless you buy your network clients and servers with a NIC as their standard hardware configuration). Even Macintoshes and Apple PowerPCs require NICs. In most cases, newer Apple computers, such as the iMac, have built-in Ethernet NICs. Figure 3.1 shows a PCI NIC from 3Com, which provides the RJ-45 female port for the CAT 5 twisted pair that connects the computer to a hub or switch (more about these connectivity devices later in the chapter).


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