Turning back to the original question, where we asked if all NICs are the same, many of their characteristics are in place due to the nature of IEEE standardization. From the standpoint of functionality, they are similar. But depending on your existing hardware, the device that you require can be slightly different. Yet it is possible that these differences can make or break the maximum efficiencies of your network.
Remember to start by researching your existing network and developing an understanding of its capability. This will allow you to determine the correct network interface card to purchase for your machine. As well, remember to keep an eye on the vendor-specific features, as previously mentioned. Ensuring that you purchase the correct device for your computer and those around it allows you to provide the best possible experience from your network.
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Brent Woolverton is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware.