Network interface card (NIC) drivers are computerized instructions and information necessary for a NIC card to function after it is installed or connected to a computer. These instructions are usually written by highly proficient computer programmers who can program in a variety of programming languages such as C or C++. A NIC card is a hardware device and hardware drivers can be thought of as the computer code or machine language that “drives” the hardware or makes it work. If a NIC card was physically connected to a machine, but there were no NIC drivers available to provide the instructions and information needed to let the machine know that the device was connected and how it was supposed to work, then network connectivity would not be achieved.
A network interface card (NIC).
Although NIC drivers are written in a specific programming language, just like computer software, they are generally not called computer programs or software because they tend to be smaller in file size and have the specific purpose of “driving” a piece of hardware. However, they are sometimes referred to as driver software. There are many types of drivers; for example, NIC drivers drive what is known as a NIC card, printer drivers drive a printer, and sound card drivers drive a sound card.
A CD with NIC drivers.
These drivers not only allow the hardware card to function, but are also intrinsically involved in configuring its settings. When a computer needs to be connected to the Internet, a NIC card or a modem, which is a form of a network interface card, must be used. Information is transported from machine to machine over networks over wires or waves, and this information can be in the form of electronic mail, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), file sharing, or fax, commonly known as fax. These various features and settings are made possible by NIC drivers. Another less commonly used term for drivers is “controllers”, because they control a device.
A network interface card, when purchased new, almost always comes with the NIC drivers it needs to work, provided on a CD (CD) by the manufacturer. Depending on the brand of card, NIC drivers may be included with the operating system running on the machine. If they are not included, they must be installed. Many manufacturers also make their card drivers available for free download from the company’s official website. Other websites on the Internet also serve as databases from which users can download drivers for NIC cards, as well as drivers for many other computer hardware devices.
NIC drivers connect computers to a network.