Those of you who are thinking of giving Linux a try, but are worried that you won't know how to do simple tasks such as controlling network devices, can let out a sigh of relief. Believe it or not, managing network devices is easier in Linux than it is in Windows.? With the help of modern desktop environments (such as GNOME and KDE) managing your ethernet and wireless devices is a snap.
In this article I am going to introduce you to the system-config-network tool that ships with the Fedora distribution. The specifics of my particular installation are:
Generally speaking networking in Linux is a no brainer. Especially when your machine receives its IP address via DHCP, it's almost always just "plug and play".? There are, of course, times when you have to configure your machine manually to use a static IP address. For this the system-config-network tool comes in very handy.
Starting the Tool
From the GNOME desktop go to the System menu and click on the Administration sub-menu. From there click on the Network entry (not the Network Device Control) to start up the tool. You will need the root password to start (and use) this tool.
As you can see (in the image to the left) the tool has a very user-friendly interface.? there are four main sections:
Configuring a New Device
The first thing you need to do is to click the New button to begin the device setup wizard.
You will have six different types of devices to choose from. Most likely you will be configuring an Ethernet or a Wireless connection.
Once you have selected the type click the Forward button.
Let's configure an Ethernet connection.
If your particular network card isn't listed then most likely drivers haven't been installed on your machine. Fortunately Linux has reached a point where most network cards are supported.
Select the card you want to configure and click the Forward button to continue on with your network configuration.
The next step is to actually configure the settings for your hardware. In this example a Static IP address is to be configured.
Enter in all of the relavent information for your network configuration.
Once you have completed this configuration click the Forward button to move on. The next screen only serves to review the information you have configured. Once you have reached that window, if the information is correct, click Apply to complete the setup of your network device.
You are probably asking yourself "Where is the DNS configuration?" Good question. The answer is simple. From the main window click on the DNS tab to reveal the location of DNS information for your network. Most likely it's not there yet. On that tab you can edit the hostname of the machine and the primary, secondary, and tertiary DNS addresses. You will notice a lack of a Save button on this tab. In order to save this information you have to go to the File menu and click the Save entry.
Activate Your Interface
Go back to the main window and click on the Devices tab. Now select the interface you want to activate and click the Activate button to start the device. If you do not have access to the Activate button that means you have to go back to the devices tab, select the hardware you want to be able to activate, and click the Edit button.What you need to do is to click the "Allow All Users To Enable and Disable The Device" entry. Now save the changes (File | Save) and go back to Activate the device.
Your network device should now be up and running!
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