Red Hat Linux is at its best when it is connected to a network. Configuring a LAN enables you to share resources with other computers in your home or organization. These resources can include files, printers, CD-ROM drives, and backup media.

This chapter describes how to create a LAN with a Red Hat Linux system being used on one of the computers on that LAN. It helps you determine the kind of equipment you need to obtain, and the layout (topology) of the network.

If something isn't working with your Red Hat Linux interface to the LAN, you can use utilities such as ifconfig to check that your Ethernet interface is configured and running properly. You can also check that Linux found and installed the proper driver for your Ethernet card. After an Ethernet interface is working, you can use the Ethereal window to monitor the packets coming and going across the interface between your computer and the network.

If a wired network in not possible or convenient, Linux includes support for wireless LAN cards. A wireless LAN can be an effective means of extending your network to areas that are difficult or expensive to reach with wired connections.

Part IV: Red Hat Linux Network and Server Setup