How to Install Network Interface Card (NIC)

There are many useful hardware accessories available in the market that can expand your computer's storage space or memory. Network Interface Card (NIC) is a computer hardware that allows the computers to communicate over a computer network. To know how to install a network interface card, read on...
Computer hardware installation may seem to be a difficult task, but is a two-step process. In the first step, you have to connect the hardware and in the next step you have to set up the software that goes with it. Before installing a new hardware, there are a few facts to be considered. Windows XP automatically distinguishes any hardware products when connected to it and installs the software as well. Most of the time, you get the software along with the hardware device or you have to download the software from the manufacturer's website. Network interface card (NIC) or a LAN adapter is a hardware component that provides access to a networking medium and low-level addressing system by the use of MAC addresses. It also helps the users to connect to each other by using cables or wireless networks.

Network Interface Card Installation

Before installing NIC, unplug the PC to prevent an electrical hazard. Wear a static electricity discharge strap while working with the PC's components, to protect the PC from any damage. A network interface installation is quite simple. However, before installing always check for the available slot and slot type. The majority of the PCs use a PCI slot, whereas, earlier an ISA slot was used that is now obsolete.

Steps to be followed while installing a NIC are:
  • Power down your PC and unplug it. Remove the screws holding the sides of the case on and slowly slide off both the panels.
  • Locate an empty PCI slot and remove the metal backing plate by taking out the screws holding it by slowly sliding it up and out. Do this with the help of flat-blade screw driver or pliers, taking care of sharp edges left behind.
  • Remove the network interface card from its anti-static bag and place it over the slot with the jack facing outside the PC.
  • Firmly press down the NIC such that the mounting bracket is properly aligned with the slot. Gently rock the card from end to end to secure it in the slot so that the gold contacts at the bottom of the NIC disappears totally in the slot. The card should be even and straight.
  • Replace the NIC mounting bracket to the case with a screw and plug your machine back in. Plug in the Ethernet wire to the RJ-45 jack and the other end into the DSL modem, hub, router or directly to another PC. This finishes the hardware installation.
  • The NIC comes with a disk containing the necessary drivers required for the software installation. Just follow the manufacturer's instruction while installing. Follow the network wizard located in the Start - Settings - Control Panel. This will save a lot of time and effort by setting up the network and configuration for you.
While installing the network interface card if you face problems with a wired network, check the physical connections and whether your machine is recognized by the hub, switch or router. Also, check the network configurations. If you have a wireless network, check the aerial and security settings as these don't set up automatically and you may also require to enter a WEP key to log on to the network.
By Kanika Khara
Bouquets and Brickbats