What is a computer network card

How to check your network adapter

Thorsten Eggeling, Sabrina Ammerl

In the event of Internet failures or network problems, a quick look at the network adapter often helps. In this way you can rule out that the cause of the problem lies there.

Almost all current computers have an onboard power adapter, so the network function is housed in the chipset on the motherboard. There are usually two LEDs next to the network socket. The green LED lights up when there is a connection to a network, the yellow LED shows the status of the transmission. It flickers when data is being transferred. USB WLAN adapters usually only have one LED, which lights up when the WLAN is active and flashes when data is being transferred.

Before troubleshooting the network adapter, make sure that the problem is not with the router or the transmission path. If the green LED does not light up, try first with another PC or notebook whether the network connection works here. If the connection works with another device, the error is to be found either in the transmission path between the PC and router or in the network adapter. If there are problems with the connection setup on a new PC, it is also advisable to check whether the network adapter is correctly connected and cabled.

Troubleshooting in Device Manager: Check and Repair Drivers

If the green LED lights up but the yellow LED does not, the problem is in the software. You can find out whether the driver for the network adapter has been installed correctly in the Device Manager. Press the Windows key and then the R key. Then enter devmgmt.msc and click "OK." Alternatively, you can search for "Device Manager" in the Windows Start menu.

EnlargeThe network adapter must appear in the device manager as shown.

You can solve some problems here by simply deactivating and reactivating the network adapter. With notebooks this often works with a manufacturer-dependent key combination.

If you are unlucky with this, right-click the entry again and select "Update Driver Software". If this does not solve the problem, you should check the manufacturer's website for new drivers to be on the safe side. As a final measure, you can uninstall the network adapter and then restart the computer, which will reinstall itself and the drivers.

Windows also provides automatic troubleshooting for the network adapter. To do this, press the Windows key and "R". About the command ncpa.cpl then open the network connections. Alternatively, you can use the system control -> "Network and Internet" -> "Network and Sharing Center" -> "Change adapter settings". Right-click here to call up the Windows diagnostic tool.

The BIOS can also turn out to be a rare source of errors. Under "Integrated Peripherals" or "Advanced" you can check whether the network adapter is deactivated at this point. Tip: This is how you get into the Bios.

If you could not find a problem with the network adapter, the network card may be defective or the cause is simply elsewhere. For more information see:

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