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What are some differences in network cards, aside from the cost?

What are some differences in network cards, aside from the cost?
There are a couple of things that make network cards different. The most significant, as far as cost, is whether or not the card is manageable. That is the card will support SNMP, RMON, or some other network monitoring protocol. The cards report errors to a monitor allowing the end user to know where and what kinds of errors the card is seeing. You also have a couple of grades of cards. Some vendors call the cards "Server" NICs. These have the reporting capabilities and additional buffers on the cards for traffic flow. They key here for you will be to find a card that supports the most operating systems. Your end users no doubt will be using a variety of operating systems including Linux, Windows, and MacIntosh. If you find one with support for all of them that includes technical support (a key to saving you some major Euros) that is where you want to be. Look for SOHO grade cards or those specifically designed for those users.
This was last published in February 2004

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