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The continuing advances in the performance of network servers make it essential for Network Interface Cards (NICs) to provide more sophisticated services and data processing. Modern network interfaces provide fixed functionality and are optimized for sending and receiving large packets. Network interface cards allow the operating system to send and receive packets through the main memory to the network. The operating system stores and retrieves data from the main memory and communicates with the NIC over the local interconnect, usually a Peripheral Component Interconnect bus (PCI). Most NICs have a PCI hardware interface to the host server, use a device driver to communicate with the operating system and use local receive and transmit storage buffers.
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