How to install a Network Interface Card (NIC)
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Network Interface Card or NIC for short is a computer hardware component that is primarily used to connect your computer to your existing home or office network or to the internet. There are five types of Network Interface Card and the most commonly used are Ethernet card, wireless network card and the wireless dongle adapter. Ethernet card uses cable such as twisted pair cables to be able to establish a connection to the network and it is physically attached to a switch/hub or a router through cables. Wireless network card uses a small antenna to communicate with other wireless devices such as laptop, wireless router or an access point (AP) and they are not physically attached with other device but instead uses radio signal to transmit data through the air. A Network Interface Card can be installed to the computer through a PCI expansion slot or to a USB port.
Types of Network Interface Card
|PCI Network Card||PCI Wireless Network Card||USB Dongle Network Adapter|
Installing USB dongle Network Interface Card is straight forward all you have to do is to plug the USB dongle to any available usb port on your computer and install the necessary drivers and software if needed by the operating system but most often it is a plug and play device wherein windows will install all the necessary drivers for it to work.
Installing a PCI Network Interface Card requires you to have some basic knowledge on computer component and does not necessarily need you to be a computer whiz to do the job. To install the Network Interface Card follow through the step by step procedure below to successfully install your card.
- Unplug the power cable on your computer power supply.
- Open your PC case, there are usually two screws at the back of your pc, unscrew it and set aside the screw. Some pc case don’t have screws to remove the cover you just have to slide the cover to open, refer to your pc case manual on how to remove the cover of your pc.
- Discharge yourself from any static charge that my damage the component before touching any pc component. You can do this by using an anti-static wrist strap clipping it to the computer casing metallic part or if you don’t have this anti-static wrist strap you can touch any non-painted metallic part of the computer casing to remove any static charge from your body before proceeding to the installation of the component. When working with pc component such as network interface card always avoid touching the golden pins of the cards or the IC chips pins.
- Find an available PCI slot on your motherboard. PCI slot can be easily distinguished over PCI-E since PCI slot are shorter in length than PCI-E slots except for PCI-E 1x slot which is shorter than PCI slot. Refer to the image below.
- Install the NIC card by aligning the guide notches with the pci slot and pressing the card gently till it sit firmly on the PCI slot, you’ll know if it is sited well if you can’t see the pins of the NIC on the pci slot.
- Secure the card by using a single screw, screwing the card bracket firmly to the computer casing.
- Inspect the card if it moves, a well sited card should not move when you try to move them. A not properly sited card may damage the card when you power on your computer.
- Plug in the power cord to the power supply and power on your computer.
- Wait for windows to load, a “new device detected” message by windows should appear and it will install the necessary driver or ask you for the device driver, after the installation of device driver you can install its software if it has.
- Check device manager if the driver is installed properly, you should see no yellow exclamation on the NIC device.
If everything works out right then you can now close your computer casing and return the screw at the back of your pc.