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2. Network Interface Controller / Card

Every device (node) on the network will require a Network Interface of some kind. This can be in the form of a dedicated card or an electronic chip integrated into the motherboard.

The purpose of a network interface card (NIC) is to provide a connection to the network (either wired or wireless).

The NIC converts data from the nodes into a format that is compatible with the network. This format is called the 'network protocol' - a set of standard rules that all connected devices must follow.

Every NIC has a unique address hard-wired or 'burned' into it i.e. configured in the hardware.

This is called its Media Access Control or MAC address.

The MAC address means every node on the network can be uniquely identified so that data is sent to the correct place.

MAC addresses are stored as a 12 digit hexadecimal number

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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Click on this link: What is a NIC card