"All roads lead to Rome," the saying goes. Something similar is true of Linux networking, except that in this case, Rome is the Linux kernel. Sooner or later, all network traffic passes through the kernel. Given that not all computers or networks are identical, the Linux kernel includes several options you can set to optimize a system for your specific needs. You can set some of these options by passing parameters to the kernel, either during the boot process or after the system has booted , and many of these cases are covered in subsequent chapters of this book. In other cases you must recompile your kernel to activate a needed option or to deactivate one that might degrade your system's performance.
This chapter is devoted to discussing these kernel configuration options. First up is a discussion of kernel configuration procedures. Next is information on network protocol options, such as TCP/IP features, network filters, and support for non-TCP/IP protocol stacks. Next comes a discussion of Linux's drivers for various types of network hardware. The chapter concludes with a brief overview of the process of kernel compilation and use.