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 What is a network adapter?

What is a network adapter

      There are different types of network adapters, and they are necessary to be able to connect to the Internet.

      Some are 'internal' while others are 'external'.  We will explore the different options in the following article.

  All computers need a network adapter, if we want to connect to the Internet.  That is why we are sure that it is necessary to be very clear about what a network adapter is.  Something that may be useful to you in the future, the more information we have, the easier it will be to solve various problems we may have.

  What is a network adapter?

  Network adapters are one of the many pieces that allow us to establish a connection to the Internet.  In general, it is an antenna (external) or a card built into our devices.

  These devices allow computers and other devices to interact with a local area network (LAN) or other type of network to access the Internet.  You can use wireless (Wi-Fi) or wired (Ethernet) connections.

  Something we must make clear, before we proceed, is that a network adapter is not the same as a router or a modem.  A router is the gateway that directs wireless traffic to devices from the Internet, while a switch allows a computer or device to connect to the Internet and receive this data.

  If we decide to use an external adapter or USB adapter on a computer, it will be necessary to download the specific drivers to be able to use it.  In general, Windows is able to install drivers that work perfectly the first time we connect the USB adapter.

  Types of network adapters

  Multiple network adapters, both wired and wireless, can be used on a variety of devices.

  Network Interface Card (NIC)

  It is one of the most common adapters that we call a network interface card (NIC) today, although it is also known as a network interface controller.  Generally, they are built into motherboards for devices that can connect to the Internet, and allow for Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity.

  NICs generally use the 802.11 standard for Wi-Fi connectivity.  Therefore, the device that comes in our computer can use any router that uses this standard to be able to connect.  Given that this is the standard for the vast majority of wireless Internet connections, it is very easy to interact with most devices.

  USB adapters

  This type of adapter usually looks like some kind of USB adapter, but with a small antenna.  This antenna is necessary to be able to receive the signal from a wireless network and transmit the data we receive through a USB connection to a computer.

  This class of adapters are ideal for old computers, and in this way they will have access to the Internet, especially since it does not require physically opening the computer to install it, nor does it require technical knowledge.  It simply connects via USB like any other device.

  Peripheral Component Interconnection (PCI) Network Adapters

  In the same way as USB adapters, a PCI adapter can be connected to a computer or laptop using a PCI card slot.  These adapters have a connected antenna designed to receive a wireless signal from the Internet.  Although it is external, it is designed in a very similar way to the NIC adapter that most modern computers come with and you can have Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections.

  Developed in 1992, the PCI standard was later replaced by PCI Express (PCIe).  It is a different version of the PCI card known as PCMCIA or Ethernet card and it has also been used in laptops for some time until technology developed so that network adapters could be integrated into laptops.

  network adapters

  Adapters are software only and are designed to mimic the functions of a NIC.  It's normal to see this class of adapters in products like a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which uses another computer's local network connection so that it appears that our computer is also using that connection from the same location.