Installing a PC computer network card

Buying tips and help

Tip: Most computers and motherboards today have a network card on-board, which means you may not need to install a network card.

How to determine the network card type

Before getting started

  1. Difficulty of installing a PC network card should be a 4 out of 5.
  2. Write down important information from the top or bottom of the card such as the Model Number, Serial Number, and specifications.
  3. Ensure you are familiar with ESD and its potential dangers.
  4. When physically installing the Network Card, ensure the computer is powered down and unplugged.

Set Jumpers

Before installing the Network Card verify that the jumpers are properly set. Today, most computers allow for the Network Card to be setup and configured through software or Plug-and-Play. If available, it is recommended that this be used.

Install into Expansion slot

Today, network cards connect to the PCI slot. Locate an available slot within the computer and gently push the card into the slot until it snaps and holds place. Once the card is in the expansion slot, place a screw into the top of the card to hold the card into position.

Attach internal cables

Most network cards will not include internal cables, but you may find Wake-On-LAN cable, which wakes the computer when network activity is present. If cables are included with the network card and your computer supports these cables, install the cables now.

The Wake-On-LAN cable must also be a supported feature of the computer motherboard. The cable will connect to the Wake-On-LAN or similar connection on the motherboard. Consult the motherboard documentation or manufacturer for additional information if this is a supported feature or where the cable should be connected.

Attach external cables

Once the network card has been physically installed into the computer, place the case back onto the computer and connect the keyboard, mouse, monitor power and network cable to the back of the computer and the other end to another network outlet, hub, switch, or router.

Software setup

Once connected, turn the computer on and install the drivers for the Network card. If you do not have drivers for your network card or the network card drivers included appear not to work, you can find links to network drivers on our network card drivers page.

Once the Network card has been successfully installed, set the configuration values for the network card in the software. The method of configuring this may vary depending on the network as well as its values; if this is a corporate or business computer and you are unsure of the network values, it is recommended you contact the network administrator for the values.

Troubleshooting

Additional information

  • See our network card definition for further information and related links on this term.