Ethernet adapter


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial.

Ethernet adapter

Also called a "network interface card" (NIC), an Ethernet adapter is a card that plugs into a slot on the motherboard and enables a computer to access an Ethernet network (LAN). In the past, desktop computers always used cards. Today, Ethernet is built into the chipsets of desktop and laptop computers, and NICs are generally only used when a faster Ethernet standard is new and has not yet become mainstream. See teaming NICs.

Adding Ethernet to Old Machines
All new computers have Ethernet built in, but old desktop computers can be retrofitted with an adapter that plugs into an available PCI slot. A USB-based Ethernet adapter can retrofit both laptop and desktop, and very old non-USB laptops can also be updated (see PC Card). See Ethernet, LAN, Wi-Fi and auto negotiate.
Type of         Supported SpeedsAdapter     10 Mbps  100 Mbps  1 Gbps

  10/100        *        *

  10/100/1000   *        *         *



Ethernet Connections
The computer's Ethernet port is wired to a switch or router. If there is no network, Ethernet connects directly to a modem for Internet access. See RJ-45, Ethernet switch, wireless router, cable modem and DSL modem.
References in periodicals archive ?
The UPA (Universal Powerline Association)-based 'Powerline' HD Plus Ethernet Adapter Kit is based on a plug-in design and push-button data encryption, and provides privacy and security for a trouble-free set-up, Jawed said .
NETGEAR's Powerline HD Ethernet Adapter is available now through leading retailers, e-commerce sites and value-added resellers.
According to the company its product is the first Ethernet adapter to break the 33MHz barrier, providing a 66MHz host PCI connection that allows latency-sensitive packets to communicate with the host server in half the normal time.