A Network Interface Card allows your personal computer to connect to the LAN and internet. Unfortunately, the type of network card used can affect your computer’s speed. In addition, since there are so many different types of NICs out there, for a first-time buyer, it’s hard to choose your first-ever network card to form a stable internet connection and make the most of the deal you secured from Cox internet plans.
The NIC establishes a secure connection and communicates using the network switch. If you have more than one computer connected over the network, the router plays the role of a mediator to change the route of the network on the network space. Let’s walk you through some tips for choosing the right Network Interface Card:
1: Know What Type of Card You Need
The first step is to choose the right card. NICs are available in a variety of different interfaces. These include:
- Ethernet/wired (Has to be plugged into your modem via a coaxial cable)
- Wireless (Radiofrequency waves send and receive info through wireless router)
- USB (Enable your PC to connect to the network via a USB port)
- Fiber optic (Converts data packets into electrical signals and transmits them via the network)
2: Check the Speed
Speed is an important aspect when it comes to choosing a NIC. So naturally, you would want to invest in a card that helps you leverage the speed your ISP is offering. But that’s not the only thing to factor in. Your device should be capable of handling the speed as well.
There is no point in investing in a 10GB NIC if your device can only handle 1 GB speed and your internet plan’s speed is 1Gb or lower than this. So first, look at what speed your device can handle, then the speed of your ISP, and then select a card that fits the need.
3: Consider the Number of Ports
A network card with a single port normally does the work and meets the transmission needs. However, a NIC card with multiple ports would do the trick if you have servers and workstations that handle different tasks.
When NIC with multiple ports is put to work, one port delivers core data while others handle the normal signal transmission work. This can help boost network security, and the other ports keep delivering data if one of the ports is unable to work.
4: OS Compatibility
Generally, most network interface cards support Microsoft and Windows operating systems. However, not every card can support IOS or Linus. Therefore, you must make sure the card you are about to buy is compatible with the operating system in use.
5: Examine the Connection Type
It’s imperative to check the connection before investing in a network interface card. Most NICs these days use the RJ-45 for connection. However, you will come across several adapters with coax or other interfaces. If you plan to buy an ethernet card, make sure the card’s connection type supports your setup.
6: Consider the Size
The size of the NIC is not usually a cause of concern, but it’s always best to choose something minimal. You will come across cards in small and large sizes. Go for the size that suits the setup of your computer.
Size matters if you are buying, let’s say, a USB card. The card shouldn’t be large; otherwise, it won’t be able to fit into the USB ports. Similarly, if you are using a laptop, go for a pocket-sized network card because you wouldn’t want it to bump into different objects and break.
7: Factor in the Price
A powerful network interface card would be expensive. Of course, you can always get a cheap card, but it won’t have features, and you won’t be able to count on the quality and performance. Nevertheless, buy a card that meets your requirements and fits the budget.
8: Look for Extra Features Like Bluetooth
This may be an additional feature, but it’s nice to have one. Some wireless cards come with this feature while others don’t, so you might have to check it. The Bluetooth option is excellent. It will allow you to connect your peripherals and other devices to your PC.
The main purpose of a network interface card is to communicate with other devices (wired and wireless). The top manufacturers of NICs include D-Link, Intel, and Cisco. Do your research, narrow down the providers you would like to invest in, and choose a card based on the features. Don’t forget to factor value for money.