Within a network, each computer has to have a network card installed on it. This card allows the computers to communicate with the router in a network.
The router can direct traffic in a local network, handle requests made to the Internet, and handle the responses. All network cards should support the same protocols as the router. This ensures that all the computers are speaking the same language. A network adapter can be used to substitute for the internal network card if the card is not there or if it doesn’t support the correct standards.
The two kinds of networks are wired and wireless. Network adapters can connect to both of these types. There are more adapter options for wireless networks, because there is a wide range of that type of network. Adapters in wired connections are USB dongles which features an Ethernet port. Ethernet cabling is what connects computers in a wired network.
Some adapters come with software loaded to it. The software isn’t always necessary, because many operating systems today can recognize a USB network adapter and immediately apply the proper drivers. Once the adapter is detected, the external network adapter can be used to connect computers by running an Ethernet cable from the router to the adapters.
Mostly, when talking about network adapters, people are referring to a wireless network. These adapters are more popular with mobile computers. It allows computers to connect to home or office networks without being attached to Ethernet cables. A wireless network adapter looks like a thumb drive or a memory stick. When someone plugs one in, it will scan for local broadcasts and display the names of available networks to the user.
Many laptops have a built in Wi-Fi card, but sometimes the card isn’t good enough. Older cards generally don’t work with newer routers. These routers have faster standards than the older versions of network cards. When an internal network card doesn’t support the desired standard, an alternative to external adapters is to simply replace the internal card with a new one. That’s easy on a computer, but not a laptop. It’s easier to get external adapters for laptops to avoid the hassle of disassembly.
When you want to buy a network adapter, the only thing you need to look for is what protocols it supports. There devices can be found all over the place online or in physical retail stores.
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