Troubleshooting Network Information Cards (NIC)

Be sure that you have eliminated possible faulty wiring before you determine the problem as being the network card. Be sure all wiring is connect and tight.

The network cards of the past were much harder to troubleshoot. For one thing they had jumpers that needed to be set according to the type of configuration you needed for a particular computer. You also needed to know the IRQ number so that it would not interfere with any other hardware. The older cards also didn’t have much speed and they were 8-bit. Now they are 16 and 32 bit mostly with new technology on the way. Now you configure them with software and you don’t have to know the IRQ.

What you need to know today

You will need a plug and play network card. You will also need a PCI slot on the mother board on the average. They also make network cards for PCI express. You need to know what driver you need. A driver is a small program that is needed to communicate between the Network card and the Motherboard and processor. The card will not work without it. The operating system picks the best setting for the card.

Do I still have to configure the card manually?

Maybe! If your network requires a specific network address or setting you may need to manually configure it. You normally will not need to worry about IRQ setting on modern computers.

Are there more than one type of network card?

Although there are more types, the main one used on most networks today is the 10baseT using port RJ-45. The other cards are Thinnet with port BNC and Thicknet with port AUI.

Proper installation

When installing a network card or any other hardware be sure you are grounded. Preferably ware a ground strap. Carefully put the card into the slot by rocking it if necessary. Do not force it. Be sure to secure it with a screw. If it is doesn’t require tools, just fasten it as required.


laptops are the biggest exception to many of the above rules. The network card, sound card and video are on an integrated motherboard. This means you must have the drivers for the motherboard if you want them to work. The drivers are normally on the company web site that made the computer. Since Windows XP most drivers will install automatically and are a part of the operating system. However, don’t bet on it. It is also possible an installation disk came with the computer or that it has a restore sector.

How do I know if I need to replace the network card?

You will know when it keeps cutting out or will not connect at all. If you have the proper driver and it does not work it is probably bad. Be sure you have the right driver for the right operating system. If you have Vista and you drive is for XP it will not work. Some exceptions do exist. You will also know if you are having trouble getting the network to work. maybe a networked programs keeps getting errors or you can not stay connected to the Internet. When in doubt replace the card. If you still are having trouble it could be the cable or a problem with the operating system. Viruses or spyware could exist also.