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Network Interface

Your fourth network adapter selection criterion will be the interface you require to the LAN. Like the computer interface, the network interface is usually a black-or-white choice—you'll have one or two specific interfaces you can use, and no others. LANs using 100Mbps technology can often accommodate 10Mbps products (and vice versa), but you'll have to check the specific products you use to verify their compatibility with the alternative speed. You can get network adapters—called combo adapters—that support 10BASE-2 and 10BASE-T, but it's unusual to find combo cards supporting 100BASE-T, too.

Similarly, it's uncommon to find a telephone line LAN adapter that can also connect directly to a 10BASE-T network. If you're using telephone line networking for your LAN cabling, you're limited to products with that interface.

You're even more restricted with wireless LAN adapters; until the market for IEEE 802.11–compliant technology matures, you'll probably want to make sure that all your equipment is from the same manufacturer.

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