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Network Adapter

* aka NIC
* Connects a host to the network medium
* Responsible for converting binary data into a format to be sent on the network medium



* Is responsible for converting digital data into digital signals to be sent on the medium
* Fiber optic NIC sends light signals
* Wired NIC sends electronic signals on a wire
* Wireless NIC sends radio signals
* To receive signals, the transceiver converts digital signals from the network to digital data for the PC



* Converts binary data to analog waves (modulation) on the sending end, and the converts the analog waves back to binary data ( demodulation) on the receiving end


Network Adapter Facts

* Network Adapters are layer 1 devices because they send and receive signals on the network medium
* Network Adapters are also layer 2 devices because they must follow the rules for media access, and because they read e physical address in a frame


Components used by a network adapter

* Transceiver Module
* Media Converter
* MAC Address
* Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)


Transceiver Module

* Used to change the media type of a port on a network device, such as a switch or router


Common types of transceiver modules

* GBIC (Gigabit interface converter)
* SFP ( Small form-factor pluggable)


GBIC (Gigabit interface converter)

* A larger-sized transceiver that fits in a port slot and is used for Gigabit media including copper and fiber optic


SFP (Small form-factor pluggable)

* Similar to GBIC but is a smaller size
* Sometimes called a mini-GBIC



* Is similar to an SFP but is used for 10 Gigabit networking


Media Converter

* Used to connect network adapters that are using different media types
* Ex. could be used to connect a server with fiber optic Ethernet NIC to copper Ethernet cable


Media Converter Facts

* Work at the Physical layer
* Do not read or modify the MAC address in any way
* Only convert from one media type to another within the same architecture (such as Ethernet)
* Can't transfer from different architectures (needs to be done by bridge or router)


MAC Address

* is a unique identifier burned into the ROM of every Ethernet NIC


MAC Address Facts

* 12-digit (48 bit) hexadecimal number (0-9 or A-F)
* Can be written as 00-B0-06-06-BC-AC or OOBO.D006.BCAC
* Globally unique by design - first half is assigned to the manufacturer - last 6 digits manufacturer determines
* Devices use MAC Addresses to send frames to other devices on the same subnet


Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)

* Used by host to discover the MAC address of a device from its IP address.
* Before two devices can communicate they must know the MAC address of the receiving device
* If MAC address is unknown then ARP finds it


Steps of ARP

* Sends device a broadcast frame
* Destination MAC address is all Fs (FFFF:FFFF:FFFF)
* The sending MAC address is its own MAC address
* Destination IP address is the known IP address of the destination host
* Sending IP address is its own IP address
* All host on subnet process the broadcast by looking at destination IP address
* If destination OP address matches its own address the host responds with a frame that includes is own MAC address as the sending MAC address
* Original sender reads the MAC address from the frame and associates the IP address with the MAC address, saving it in the cache
* Once the sender knows the MAC address of the receiver it sends data in frames addressed to the destination device. These frames include a CRC


Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC)

* Used to detect frames that have been corrupted during transmission


Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP)

* Used to find the IP address of a host with a known MAC address