III Network Interface Cards (NICs) and Plug n Play
As with virtually every other expansion card in a PC, the NIC needs an interrupt and a memory I/O address. Back in the ISA days, this had to be done manually. No fun at all. And it went downhill from there, typically having to add monolithic drivers, such as NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification). Fortunately for us, those days are over. Today, dropping a NIC in really is Plug and Play.
Since the PCI slot only talks to PCI cards, and a PCI NIC has a BIOS telling the PC and the Operating System who it is, the biggest challenge is making sure that you have the correct driver for the NIC. If you are using a popular NIC, when the BIOS identifies the NIC, chances are the driver will already be waiting in the source files on the Operating System.
If not, be sure to have the CD or diskette ready from the NIC manufacturer. It doesn't really help to have it on a server that you cannot network to, without a network card running.
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