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Network Card

The network interface card, often abbreviated NIC, is either an ISA/PCI expansion board, PCMCIA card, or USB device that you insert or plug into a computer so the computer can be connected to a network. Most NICs are designed for a particular type of network, protocol, and medium (e.g., cable), although some can serve multiple network media types. Wireless NICs are PCMCIA cards and use an adapter card for desktop machine installations.

MAC Address

Every NIC is assigned a globally unique identification number, called the MAC (media access control) address. It is a hexadecimal number that identifies the manufacturer and the network node.


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