How-to Guide: Index

Network Interface Controllers (NIC's)

Network cards are to be distinguished according to four main criteria: 

Network architecture 

  • bus system
  • data throughput
  • data ports
  • network architecture 

The following networks have been found to be particularly important: 

  • ARCNET
  • Token Ring
  • Ethernet 

The ARCNET was just like the Ethernet already developed in the late 70s. Today, it is only in a few areas of industrial, medical and logistics of importance. ARCNET cards are now among the hardware components of this Smmlern. 

Token Ring, developed in the early 80s, was for a long time for networking standard at IBM. Today, it has virtually no meaning. 

An absolute triumph, which continues today, is experiencing the Ethernet since its introduction as an international standard in 1985. 

Bus System 

ARCNET cards were produced exclusively as an ISA network boards. Token Ring network cards as well as Ethernet cards have been, however, initially developed for ISA. With the introduction of the faster PCI bus system then also PCI Network Interfaces of both architectures were produced. 

For the Ethernet network, plug-in cards for other bus systems have been developed. Thus we find in addition to 16-bit ISA and 32-bit PCI NIC's now also 64-bit PCI-X NIC's and PCI-Express NIC's. For notebooks continue to mini-PCIe Ethernet cards were put on the market. 

Data throughput 

While the ARCNET only a data transfer rate of 2.5 Mbit / s enabled, were with Token Ring cards, after all, already 4Mbit / s, 16 Mbit / s and later 100Mbit / s. The Ethernet standard, which reached in the first stage of development 10Mbit / s was added to the Fast Ethernet standard with 100MB / s Next step was the specification of Gigabit Ethernet with 1000MBit / s 

Data Ports 

ARCNET and token ring 10Mbit / s used exclusively BNC connectors. Also Ethernet network cards 10Mbit / s for the ISA slot were equipped with them. From 100 Mbit / s, we find Token Ring cards as well as in Ethernet NIC's modular RJ-45 connectors. In addition to Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 connectors and fiber channel connectors Weerden used.