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Ethernet adapterAlso 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 * * *
|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.|