Hi I have a 2 year old Gateway computer. It has a hookup USB for an internet connection- however, I would like to hookup a NIC card. Is all that I have to do open the PC and install the NIC? will the XP system recognize the NIC card or is there software that I must install? Which type of nic card should I buy, any recommendations?
Does the NIC card work better than just plugging the cable into the USB?
There doesn't need to be any software to install for an ordinary 10/100 PCI NIC to work with Windows XP.
Long ago, the typical 10/100 PCI NIC became nearly a comodoty. There's only a couple of chipsets out there, and nothing very special about the boards. Get the least expensive one that's new enough to have XP listed on the box, and you should be fine.
Yes. There are so many things that could go wrong running network communications over the same USB bus that's also running a printer, a mouse, a keyboard, a scanner, a digital camera, a webcam, etc., etc. Not only do you have a bus that needs to adapt to all those different uses, if those uses are happening at the same time, you're sharing the bus.
You can think of it as like comparing a hard-wired phone to a cordless phone. Most of the time (today) the cordless phone works just fine for a conversation, but it's still not as reliable, and never will be as reliable, as a wired phone.
You may not see a marked improvement (although you could), but it's still better, and more reliable.
Don't forget to power-cycle your cable modem when switching. If you have an RCA cable modem, the USB and Ethernet ports can't both be used at the same time, and the modem may need to be power-cycled numerous times. Motorolas can use both ports at the same time, but your cable provider has probably only provisioned your modem for one connection. Power-cycling should take care of that.
Another advantage of going to Ethernet is that you can now put a NAT router in the mix. The features of NAT will give you a rudimentary firewall to protect your computer. Consider getting a router even if you only have one computer.
Hello and thanks for the prompt reply- very informative.
I noticed that my PC has an Intel INtel Pro/100 VE Network Connection- I opened the PC and this is a very small box- not a card. Its about the size of a very small jewelery box. What exactly is this? Do I still need a NIC card?
Also, what is powercycling and how do I do this? Just turn off and on the cable modem? Thank you