Ethernet controller is a component of computer hardware used for controlling the connection to wired networks. It is a vital component for managing Internet connections and other related network functions. Also, computers in a network communicate with each other with the help of Ethernet controller. It decodes the data received from the Internet cable into a form which could be easily recognized by the computer. Ethernet controller reviews each packet of data and determines whether the data is required for local computer or any other computer on the network. If the information is meant for local computer it will be accepted and information meant for other computers will be discarded. Most of the new generation computers have built in Ethernet controllers; however, older versions of computer used network interface cards having an Ethernet controller chip. Software drivers are used in order to manage the Ethernet controllers.
Increased penetration of Internet and related services worldwide has resulted in rising demand for Ethernet controllers used in devices such as personal computers and laptops. Also, failure of Ethernet controllers results in loss of Internet connection and instead of buying a new device, customers prefer to replace the controller due to the low cost. USB Ethernet controllers provide mobility and in case of failure new USB controller could be easily installed by simply plugging the device in the computer or laptop. USB capability has increased the overall popularity of Ethernet controllers due to the ease of use and portability. Ethernet controller also performs an important function of receiving and transmitting data related to bidirectional data bus used for data transfer within microprocessor and memory input or output devices. Ethernet controllers obtain the IP address from dynamic host control protocol (DHCP) server. It helps in sending the right information to their respective destinations. Integration of Ethernet controller with the microcontrollers is expected to drive the demand for Ethernet controller market. Microcontrollers are small computers on a single integrated circuit, it contains input/output peripherals, processor core and memory. Products such as telephones, automobiles and other home appliances use microcontrollers for control purpose. As the requirements for microcontroller increases, the Ethernet controllers used in these microcontrollers are also experiencing growing demand. New gigabit Ethernet controllers are helping to reduce the cost related to supporting components such as crystals and bridge chips. Also, these controllers provide full integration and interface capabilities with media access control (MAC) and physical-layer (PHY). However, the Ethernet controllers depend on the specifications of systems for stable performance. Whether the controller supports the current Mach version or other functionalities such as threading must be checked.
Ethernet controllers are managed through the software drivers installed in the computer. New and advanced drivers of Ethernet controllers are providing enhanced functionality such as the ability to communicate from the computer to any specific device. These advanced software applications are expected to provide tremendous growth opportunities for the Ethernet controller market. Major players in the Ethernet controller market include Renesas Electronics Corporation, Intel Corporation, OMRON Corporation, Cirrus Logic Inc., Silicon Laboratories, Inc., Microchip Technology Inc., Mindspeed Technologies, Inc., Broadcom Ltd. and Siemens AG.
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