Configuring a Client to Access and Use Network Resources

Part of the role of the network administrator is to expand the network to include new client systems. Many factors are required to connect a client to the network including media, protocols, and services. This section explores the requirements to connect a client system to an existing network.

Choosing a NIC

A client system cannot access the network if it does not have a network card installed. There are several factors to consider when selecting a network card:

  • Bus compatibility Some older systems have only Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) slots, but most modern systems have either Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) slots or both PCI and ISA slots. Either way, you should verify that there is an expansion slot of the correct type available. Wireless NICs can be installed using a USB adapter.

  • Type of network, unless you are using a networking system other than Ethernet, you should not need to specify another type of NIC. The exception here is if the client system is being attached using a wireless connection. A Wireless NIC would then be required.

  • Media compatibility Modern LANs use NICs that support UTP cable. There are some out there, however, that still require coaxial connectors and more modern ones might have fiber connectors.

Besides these criteria, which dictate to a certain extent which NICs you can use, the choice then depends on manufacturer, cost, and requirements. The NIC might come preinstalled in the system or, as in an increasing number of cases, the NIC might be built on to the system board. In either of these situations, you do not have to install a NIC.