Getting on the network

Assuming that you're dealing with the simple situation of having a host with a single network card, here's the bare minimum you should know to get your system onto the network as quickly as possible. (More advanced network configuration will be covered later.)

As long as you're dealing with a typical TCP/IP network card, its device name is almost certainly going to be eth0. You have two choices for configuring and activating your network interface:

To configure the interface, run the following command-line utility and just fill in the blanks:

# netconfig
# service network restart            just to play it safe

Once the card is configured, you can examine and activate and deactivate it with:

# ifconfig                      examine all networking configuration
# ifconfig eth0                 examine just eth0
# ifdown eth0                   deactivate that interface
# ifup eth0                     activate that interface
# route                         display the routing table
# ping  test the interface
# service network restart       restart all TCP/IP networking

If you expect to deactivate your interface from time to time, you should make a note of two different ways to call ifconfig to examine your interfaces:

# ifconfig            display only active interfaces
# ifconfig -a         diaplay all interfaces, active or not


While network configuration is typically done by the superuser, even regular users have the right to run ifconfig, as long as they're only using it to display interface information, and not trying to change any of it.

Since the ifconfig command is most likely in the /sbin directory, a regular user can either run the fully-qualified command /sbin/ifconfig, or can add that directory to his search path so that he need only type ifconfig from now on. This can be a real time-saver.