10.2 Configuring an Internet Connection

The Network Administration Tool simplifies configuration of your system to access the Internet via a telephone dialup, ISDN, DSL, Ethernet, or wireless connection. The Network Administration Tool requires you to follow a three-step process:

  1. Set up the hardware device associated with the connection.

  2. Specify DNS settings and hostnames.

  3. Activate the device, if necessary.

The following subsections explain how to perform these steps.

The Network Administration tool supports all these methods of connecting to the Internet. However, some hardware devices are not compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora Core. And, some Internet service providers insist that their customers use only Windows. In either case, you may experience difficulties in connecting to the Internet. The final section of this chapter explains some means of last resort that might help you resolve problems.

10.2.1 Setting Up Hardware Devices

In the past, most computer users connected to the Internet via a plain old telephone service (POTS) dial-up modem. However, today, many means of connecting to the Internet are available. For example, many home computer users have high-speed connections using ISDN or DSL. Corporate computer users often connect to the Internet via a local area network, using an Ethernet adapter. And wireless network adapters are becoming quite popular.

To set up a hardware device using the Network Administration Tool, choose System Settings Network from the main menu. The Network Administration Tool appears, as shown in Figure 10-1. Although the screen is titled "Network Configuration," the tool is nevertheless commonly known as the Network Administration Tool.

Figure 10-1. The Network Administration Tool

The Network Administration Tool has five tabs:


Used to associate a physical device with a network connection


Used to set up a physical device


Used to set up a virtual private network (VPN); to use this option you must first install the cipe package


Used to specify DNS servers and related options


Used to specify names of hosts not known to a DNS server

To begin setting up an Internet connection, click the Devices tab and then click the New button in the toolbar. A dialog box appears, inviting you to choose the type of your device, as shown in Figure 10-2. Choose the appropriate device type and click Forward. Then, follow the steps in the following subsection appropriate to the type of your device.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora Core support two schemes used by DSL providers: Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) and Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP). If your DSL provider uses DHCP, you should configure your DSL connection as though it were an Ethernet connection. Otherwise, you should specify xDSL as the device type.