10.2 Configuring an Internet Connection

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.

10.3 The Mozilla Web Browser

Once you've established a connection to the Internet, you can surf the Web using Mozilla, the default Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora Core web browser. To launch Mozilla, choose Internet images/ent/U2192.GIF border=0> Web Browser from the main menu. Mozilla resembles its closed source ancestor, Netscape Navigator. So, if you've used Navigator, you'll feel at home in Mozilla.

The Web contains quite a bit of malicious software. You should log in as an ordinary user—that is, a user other than the root user—to surf the Web. That way, malicious software is less likely to be able to compromise your system.

When you launch Mozilla for the first time, you may see a dialog box explaining that a Mozilla profile is being created from existing Netscape 4 files. Click Convert Profile to allow Mozilla to create the profile.

Mozilla includes email and news clients that are easily configured. It also includes a web page composer and address book. To configure Mozilla email, choose Window images/ent/U2192.GIF border=0> Mail & Newsgroups from the Mozilla menu. An Account wizard appears, asking whether you want to configure an email or newsgroup account. Select Email Account and click Next. The Identity dialog box (Figure 10-15) appears. Specify your name and email address and click Next.

Figure 10-15. The Identity dialog box

The Server Information dialog box (Figure 10-16) appears. Specify which protocol your mail server uses, POP (Post Office Protocol) or IMAP (Interim Mail Access Protocol). POP servers require you to download email. IMAP servers let you read email that resides on the server. Most up-to-date ISPs support IMAP, the newer protocol. Also specify the hostnames of your incoming and outgoing mail services. A single host may fill both roles. If you don't know this information, you can obtain it from your ISP. Click Next to continue.

Figure 10-16. The Server Information dialog box

The User Name dialog box appears. Specify the username by which you login to your ISP's mail server. Click Next to continue. The Account Name dialog box appears. Specify a name by which to refer to your new email account so that you can distinguish it from other accounts you may create. Click Next to continue. The Congratulations! dialog box appears. Verify that the information it presents is accurate. If necessary, click Back to return to an earlier dialog box and correct the information. When you're satisfied that the information is correct, click Finish to create your profile.

Mozilla asks your password so that it can login to your email account. Specify the password. If you want Mozilla to remember your password, enable the checkbox Use Password Manager to remember this password. Click OK to login.

Mozilla reads and displays the contents of your Inbox, as shown in Figure 10-17. The left pane of the window displays your mail folders. The top pane displays messages within the current folder. And, the bottom pane displays the contents of the currently selected message.

Figure 10-17. The Mozilla email screen

Mozilla's user interface is straightforward. For example, to send a message, click the Compose button in the toolbar. The best way to learn your way around Mozilla is to explore its menu and toolbar, clicking and observing the results. You'll soon be at home.