Definition:In computer networking, a NIC provides the hardware interface between a computer and a network. A NIC technically is network adapter hardware in the form factor of an add-in card such as a PCI or PCMCIA card.
Some NIC cards work with wired connections while others are wireless. Most NICs support either wired Ethernet or WiFi wireless standards. Ethernet NICs plug into the system bus of the PC and include jacks for network cables, while WiFi NICs contain built-in transmitters / receivers (transceivers).
In new computers, many NICs are now pre-installed by the manufacturer. All NICs feature a speed rating such as 11 Mbps, 54 Mbps or 100 Mbps that suggest the general performance of the unit.
Also Known As: NIC also stands for Network Information Center. For example, the organization named “InterNIC” is a NIC that provides information to the general public on Internet domain names.