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The card implements the electronic circuitry required to communicate using a specific physical layer and data link layer standard such as ethernet or token ring. This provides a base for a full network protocol stack, allowing communication among small groups of computers on the same LAN and large-scale network communications through routable protocols, such as IP.
A network card typically has a twisted pair, BNC, or AUI socket where the network cable is connected, and a few LEDs to inform the user of whether the network is active, and whether or not there is data being transmitted on it.
Most newer computers have a network interface built into the motherboard, so a separate network card is not required unless multiple interfaces are needed or some other type of network is used.
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