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Fiber NIC Card: How Much Do You Know

Network interface cards, which are also called fiber NIC cards. Fiber NIC cards can provide fast and reliable network connections for users' computers or network servers. A network interface card (NIC) is a hardware component without which a computer cannot be connected over a network. It is a circuit board installed on a computer that provides a dedicated network connection to the computer. It is also called network interface controller, network adapter, or LAN adapter.
And there are several common types of network interface cards on the market, such as fiber NIC cards and wireless network cards. This article will take you through fiber NIC cards and their different applications.

What Is Fiber NIC Card? (network interface card)

A fiber NIC card is also called a fiber LAN card or fiber server adapter. It is like a circuit board that is designed to allow computers or servers to communicate with a network. The fiber network card has a unique physical network address, also referred to as a MAC address. A fiber NIC card is usually a separate adapter card that can be inserted into one of the server’s motherboard expansion slots. The side plate of the fiber NIC is usually built with an interface like SFP, SFP+ or QSFP+ port. The card can translate computer data into electrical signals and the signals are compatible with the network., which makes it easy to exchange information. In the next part, some common types of fiber optic NIC cards will be elaborated on in detail.

The role of the network interface card (NIC)

  • NIC allows both wired and wireless communications.
  • NIC allows communications between computers connected via local area network (LAN) as well as communications over large-scale networks through Internet Protocol (IP).
  • NIC is both a physical layer and a data link layer device, i.e. it provides the necessary hardware circuitry so that the physical layer processes and some data link layer processes can run on it.

Types of NIC Cards

NIC cards are of two types:

Internal Network Cards

In internal network cards, the motherboard has a slot for the network card where it can be inserted. It requires network cables to provide network access. Internal network cards are of two types. The first type uses Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) connection, while the second type uses Industry Standard Architecture (ISA).

External Network Cards

In desktops and laptops that do not have an internal NIC, external NICs are used. External network cards are of two types: Wireless and USB-based. A wireless network card needs to be inserted into the motherboard, however, no network cable is required to connect to the network. They are useful while traveling or accessing a wireless signal.

Overview of Common Fiber NIC Types

Gigabit fiber optic NIC, 10G fiber optic NIC, 25G fiber optic NIC and 40G fiber optic NIC are common types of fiber optic NICs. Some basic information about them will be detailed in the following sections. Below are some detailed descriptions of their information.

Gigabit Fiber Network Card

The gigabit Ethernet fiber network card is also known as the 1000Mbps optical network card. Usually, its maximum transmission speed can reach 1000Mbps and only provide a fixed transmission speed. According to different bus interfaces, gigabit fiber network cards can be divided into PCI gigabit network cards, PCI-X gigabit network cards, and PCI express gigabit network cards. Based on different network interfaces, it can be grouped into RJ-45 gigabit fiber network card and SFP gigabit fiber NIC card.

10G Fiber Network Card

10G fiber network card uses a 32/64-bit PCI bus network interface card to establish a connection between the PC and the switch to solve the bottleneck problem of the server network card in the intranet mode. SFP+ single-mode or multimode fibers and DAC/AOC cable can be used in 10G fiber network cards. The integrated communication control chip of the 10G fiber network card relieves the pressure of CPU data processing. And 10G fiber NIC cards, especially 10Gbase-t NIC cards, are frequently used in computers due to their relatively low transmission speed.

25G Fiber NIC Card

25G fiber NIC card typically operates at the physical or data link layer and has a unique physical address (MAC address). In addition, the 25G fiber NIC card has one or two SFP28 ports on the side panel, which are mainly used to connect the optical module to the switch. Common SFP28 optical module or the SFP28 high-speed cable (DAC) can be used in 25G fiber NIC cards. The 25G fiber NIC card is mainly used for the connection between the servers and the switches.

40G Fiber NIC Card

40G fiber NIC card has a 40G QSFP+ interface that supports 40Gbps transmission bandwidth. It supports the PCI-e x8 standard slot to ensure efficient and stable operation. Usually, the 40G fiber NIC card also has a single port and dual ports. And 40G fiber NIC cards in some companies have different functions. For example, 40 Gigabit Ethernet adapters in Intel can provide traffic separation (VMS) for virtual machines, state offload, and use server and network virtualization. While 40 Gigabit Ethernet adapters in Mellanox are the highest performing interconnect solution for enta enterprise data centers, cloud computing, high-performance computing, and embedded environments.

Application of fiber optic network card

Fiber NICs have two main applications. They can be applied to the connection between network servers, computers, or storage, and switches, enabling 10G, 25G, 40G, or up to 100G data transfer. Here is a specific application scenario for a 10Gcanc network card. As shown below. 10GBASE-T NICs connect to ToR switches or EoR usage models via Cat6a/Cat7 UTP cables.


From the above-mentioned content, you may have a general understanding of different fiber NIC cards.
The purpose of NIC is to connect your computer with a LAN network (Local Area Network) over a cable or wireless. It provides physical layer access to communicate with the data link layer (Ethernet or WiFi) so that computers can communicate on the same LAN network or even communicate over large-scale networks through Internet Protocol (IP). When you decide to choose a different fiber network card, it is very important to find the right one for your needs.