One of our St. John’s faculty computers was having a hard time accessing Web pages. It was intermittent. I fired up a command prompt and pinged the server, and the result was a loss of one of the four packets. I set up 1,000 pings, and had 31% packet loss. Just to be sure, I moved the network cable to an open port on the switch and repeated the kiloping; this time it was 43% packet loss. My final test was to connect my laptop to the cable, no packet loss. It was pretty clear I had the NIC in the machine going bad. This machine is a less – than – a – year – old HP.
I decided to open the machine up and see if it had a PCI or PCI Express slot that I could put a replacement NIC in. I had a minor surprise: the computer had no slots at all for cards. The case has knockouts, but nothing on the (very small) mobo.
So this machine has numerous USB ports open, and I have my choice of USB Wifi or USB-to-RJ45 connections, so I will be able to fix the problem.
It lead me to wonder about another machine I have here, an inexpensive Dell. I pulled the cover off, and sure enough, no card slots. I’m sure it’s a trend.
For a NIC, it’s not an issue, but the 2nd highest failure item I have is video cards. Those are not really available and reliable in USB, so I may not have a good replacement option there.