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Net Gains: A Linux Networking Overview - page 2

Introducing Our Networking Series

  • May 10, 2000
  • By William Wong
The Network Adapters article takes a look at types of network adapters, as well as how they are installed and configured. Most Linux distribution installation programs handle a wide variety of the most popular Ethernet adapters. Newer or older network adapters are often not part of a Linux distribution, so it can be useful to know how to handle adapter installation. This article also takes a closer look at IP support, such as the Dynamic Name Service (DNS) and the Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP).

The File Sharing With Samba article looks Samba, a file and print service based on the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. SMB is used by a variety of operating systems for network support including DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 9x, Windows NT, and Windows 2000 as shown in Figure 2. Samba allows Linux to act as an SMB client and/or server.

Linking A Network To The Internet covers the most requested reason for using Linux on a small network. The article assumes a network is in place. Although Samba does not have to be running on the network, its presence and operation guarantees that computers on the network will be able to access the Internet through a common gateway. In this case, Linux will be the gateway and the connection will be through a second network adapter connected to a DSL or cable modem. This article introduces concepts like routers, network address translation (NAT), and firewalls. Figure 3 shows how a number of computers share a link to the Internet.

The Dial-up Connections article builds on the concepts presented in the Linking A Network To The Internet article. The Dial-up Connections article concentrates on the addition of a modem for dial-out purposes and how the dial-up link can provide shared access to the Internet through a single Internet Service Provider (ISP) account.

The Security And The Internet article takes a look into Pandora's Box. Unfortunately, the box is already open when any network is connected to the Internet, but with reasonable precautions, a Linux gateway can protect the network from unauthorized access from outside the network.

The File Sharing With NFS article takes a look at an alternative approach called NFS (Network File System) popular on UNIX networks. It allows Linux to coexist in an NFS-based network in a fashion similar to Samba in a Windows environment.

The File Sharing With Netware article shows how to turn Linux into a Netware 3.x server as well as how to configure Linux as a Netware client. Caldera had sold a version of OpenLinux that provided Netware 4.x server support, but that product is no longer available. The primary reason was that its cost was essentially for Netware 4.x.

A number of network topics are not covered in this series of articles. For example, virtual private network (VPN) support is not addressed. Likewise, remote X Window support is something best left to another article, as is the care and feeding of an FTP server or an Apache Web server.

While this series of articles uses Linux as a platform, most of the services are available in source form and have the same or similar counterparts on other platforms, such as FreeBSD.

Many of the features examined in these articles such as Internet gateway support can be provided through new, low-cost Internet appliances. They are easier to set up than Linux, so why consider using Linux for these chores? First, Linux will allow all the services to operate off a single computer. Second, almost any x86 computer will handle these chores, so an old 486 that is collecting dust might prove to be useful. Finally, if one is using Linux already, then it is often a simple matter of installing and configuring software to provide one or more services.


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