Decide on Brand of Network card
As long as a network card supports the type of
Ethernet, which you have decided to use
(10base2, 10baseT, 100baseT), different
brands (cards from different vendors/manufactures) will
communicate with each other.
I get a lot of questions from users of my website: "Which
network card should I purchase ?"
Before I give a recommendation, let me first explain my reason
||Have a look in your Control-Panel
the applet : "System",
on the tab:
It contains a list of all components of
your PC. Since you can see and touch
these parts, they are also called:
But hardware on its own is useless,
unless your system knows how to
"talk" / "use" the hardware:
the computer requires some software,
a program, which allow the computer
to use the hardware.
Such software handling a piece of
hardware is called a "Device Driver",
often just called with its short-name:
Select a piece of hardware, then click
on the button "Properties"
more details on this specific component.
Select the tab: "Driver" and view the
"Driver File Details":
Like regular software, drivers have a version
Most of the components in the above list are integrated parts of
But there are a few components, which often get added later or
get swapped out with a more
- the network card
- the graphic display adapter
- the sound-card
Now we need to have a
quick look at the market of PC components: when you walk through
a computer-store, you see dozens of different vendors /
manufactures offering similar products,
competing with each other to offer the best and the fastest (and
sometimes the cheapest).
A component is often replaced already after a few months with a
new, more powerful version.
But this fast product cycle can have an impact on the drivers for
A "driver" is software, and
like other software can contain "bugs":
that it is not working
properly. And with this pressure to deliver a new product every
few months, sometimes
manufactures do not have the time to completely test and debug a
(this is NOT a joke: I once purchased a
networking card, where the README.TXT-file on the driver floppy
stated : "This is beta-test software" ) .
somebody asked me some
years ago : "which network card ? ",
I used to suggested to use an
NE2000-compatible network card.
(In the very early days of
network cards were very expensive,
limiting the market potential of the first
So, they designed and offer some affordable
network-cards, from which the most
successful model was the "NE2000".
Other manufactures started to copy this
card as "NE2000 Compatible" )
Because the "NE2000-compatible"
network-card were used so much, any operating system with
network-support ( Windows 3.11 for
Workgroups, Windows NT, Windows95/98, OS/2, Linux,..but
NOT XP ! )
include already a fully tested and very reliable
driver for the "NE-2000 compatible"
But that was a few years ago (up to 1998), because the
NE2000-compatible cards are based on
the ISA-slots ( ISA-slots: "Industry Standard
Architecture" slots, as designed by IBM for the
IBM-AT computer, which have been the standard to install PC cards
into a computer for 20 years).
Moderns PC's (as delivered in the last few years) have either
only 1 or no ISA-slots anymore,
they have the more modern and more powerful PCI-slots to install
Therefore, network cards for ISA-slots have disappeared from the
market , replaced now by
PCI-slot networking cards.
I will not make a recommendation for a specific
brand/model of PCI-networking card.
However, I like to suggest that due to the possibility of driver problems :
make sure, that you have a
source to get updated drivers !
An updated driver can be a newer version, fixing some problems,
but it could also be
a driver for a new operating system : maybe you like to update
your system in future to
Today, the main-source for new /
updated drivers is the Internet.
I strongly suggest, that before purchasing a network card you
first verify that there is an Internet
website offering driver support :
Look in the shop at the box of the network-card and find a
reference to a website, or at least
find the name of the manufacturer and then use an Internet
search-engine to locate the website
of the manufacturer ! Have a look to that website to check,
whether it is only a promotional
website offering products or whether it includes a
support-section with driver-downloads.
Although I will not make a recommendation for a specific
network card, I would not mind to post on this page
some advertising of network card manufactures/suppliers
with links to their website / driver page.
If you are interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
to discuss the (low) advertising rates.