My own NAS system – Part 1: taking Synology behind the woodshed
by Richard Müller
Network cards are a critical component in the connectivity of computers, allowing them to interface with networks. A network card can either be integrated onto the motherboard or an add-on accessory that enables connection to a local area network (LAN). Customers typically seek out network cards to upgrade their computer’s connectivity for faster internet speeds, to connect with advanced networks, or to replace an outdated or malfunctioning card. Those using their computers for intensive online gaming, high-definition streaming, or large data transfers often rely on these cards. The users may also be IT professionals who are setting up servers or workstations that require reliable network connections.
Important properties of network cards include the type of connections they support and the Wi-Fi standards they are compatible with. Consumers should focus on the connection type, typically RJ45, known for its use in Ethernet cables which is the standard for wired networks. The Wi-Fi standard is another significant feature, with Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) being the latest for wireless connections, providing higher speed, increased capacity, and better performance in dense environments compared to its predecessors. When selecting a network card, customers should consider their network environment and ensure that the card's specifications align with their needs, such as whether they require a wired or wireless connection, the necessary bandwidth, and compatibility with existing equipment.
The range of network cards available includes products from leading brands, each bringing their unique features to the table. Intel offers the Ethernet X550T2 Server, which is designed for server applications requiring robust and high-speed Ethernet connections. HPE’s network cards, such as the Intel X710-DA2 Ethernet SFP+ Adapter with 2 ports, cater to enterprise environments where scalability and network performance are of paramount importance. ASUS provides options for the consumer market with network cards like the PCE-AX3000, which blends compatibility with the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard for ultrafast wireless connectivity. Sonnet specializes in cards like the Solo 10G TB3 that bring 10GB Base-T Ethernet speeds to Thunderbolt 3 compatible devices. TP-Link offers accessibility and value with network cards such as the TX401, which provides robust connectivity solutions for both home and office users. Each brand contributes to a diverse array of choices to meet the specific network needs of customers, from casual browsing to high-level data-intensive tasks.