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2. Network Interface Card

Networks need a method of telling connected devices apart from one another. The most commonly used method is the Network Interface Card (NIC).

This is an electronic chip built into the motherboard of the device. It is hard-wired with a unique 'address', called a Media Access Control address (or MAC address).

No two MAC addresses are the same. So networks can use them to uniquely identify the connected devices.

In addition to holding the MAC address, the NIC is responsible for converting data on the computer into the format used by the network, and vice versa. Each network has its own set of rules, called a network protocol, and it's the NIC's job to ensure that the connected device follows these rules.

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