Advantages & Disadvantages of a Network Interface Card

By Bonnie Conrad

Building a computer network allows business owners and home users to share files and cut costs. By sharing printers, files and other resources, both home users and business users can eliminate redundant equipment and cut the costs of doing business. Instead of buying everyone in the office her own desktop printer, business owners can buy a single printer and allow everyone to share it. Network interface cards are used to connect those computers to the network, and these cards have some important advantages, as well as some potential drawbacks.

Network Interface Cards Are Inexpensive

One of the chief advantages of network interface cards is that they are very inexpensive. If you shop around you can find quality network cards for as little as $10, making it possible to upgrade just about any computer without spending a lot of money. In addition, many modern computers already have a network card built in, making it even easier to connect those computers to the network.

Easy to Troubleshoot

Network interface cards make it easy for computer owners and IT personnel to troubleshoot problems. That is because most network cards have indicator lights built into them. These indicator lights make it easy to see at a glance whether the card is working properly. If you see green flashing lights on the card you know that there is good communication with the network. If those lights are red or amber you know that there is a communication problem.

Network Cards Need to be Configured Properly

One of the drawbacks of network interface cards is that the cards need to be configured in order to work properly with the network. In order to work properly, the network interface card needs to be capable of the same speed as the network switch to which it is connected. That means that a network switch running at 100Mb will require the network cards in the computer to be running at the same speed. To make this change, computer technicians will need to adjust the settings on each card to the proper speed.

Require a Hard Wired Connection

Another drawback of standard network interface cards is the fact that they require a hard wired connection. In order to work properly, the computer will need to remain in one place. If you used a wireless adapter instead, you could move the desktop or laptop to different places within the building, provided that the computer remains in range of the wireless router.

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