LAN (Local Area Network) drivers are software programs used to connect a computer to a network of other computers. When referring to drivers installed on a network server, LAN drivers may also be referred to as network drivers. They direct the function of the hardware used to transfer data to and from computers on the LAN. These drivers come in various types and can be installed on a user’s computer or on a shared server. Network hardware devices, which may need LAN drivers to function, include network routers, modems, network cards, or network card adapters.
Network routers may need LAN drivers to function.
A LAN is a group of computers connected by a shared data link. Often found in homes or offices, LAN groups are usually connected computers or servers located in the same general geographic location. Any computer connected to a router is part of a local network. Hardware used in a local area network can be connected using LAN cables, usually category four (CAT-4) or category five (CAT-5) cables, or wirelessly using a wireless networking device such as a wireless router. Of the many types of networking technology used to transfer data between devices, the most common are ethernet and wireless networks, which are often referred to as WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network).
A network interface card (NIC) requires software drivers to function correctly after installation on a computer.
A modem is used to connect a network to the Internet using a cable, DSL (digital subscriber line) or satellite Internet connection. A router connects multiple computers, allowing them to exchange data. Routers are usually connected to a modem, sharing the Internet connection between computers connected to the router. Network cards are installed on the user’s computer to allow communication with other network devices such as modems, servers, and other computers. Network adapters connect to a computer via a universal serial bus (USB) or Firewire™ plug to adapt a computer without a network card to receive a network connection. The types of LAN drivers used on a shared server include native drivers, io-net drivers, and ported NetBSD drivers.
Network devices can be connected using Cat 5 cables with an RJ45 plug.
When problems hit a network and resetting the network hardware doesn’t help, the next troubleshooting step is usually to reinstall or update the drivers for the network hardware. Missing, corrupt, or faulty software drivers can cause a network connection to drop intermittently or completely. Most manufacturers include a CD with the LAN drivers needed to run their network hardware. Software updates or LAN drivers are usually available for download from the hardware manufacturer’s website, usually found in the “Downloads”, “Support”, or “Troubleshooting” sections of the websites.
LAN drivers are stored on CDs or DVDs, usually included in a network device.
A network cable tester can be used to determine if the problem is with the cable or the LAN driver.