A network interface card (NIC) is a computer circuit board or card that is installed in a computer so that it can be connected to a network. Personal computers and workstations on a local area network (LAN) typically contain a network interface card specifically designed for the LAN transmission technology, such as Ethernet or token ring. Network interface cards provide a dedicated, full-time connection to a network. Most home and portable computers connect to the Internet through as-needed dial-up connection. The modem provides the connection interface to the Internet service provider.