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1: Creating a Dial-Up Internet ConnectionYour Linux networking journey starts with the fundamentals-setting up your modem and creating an Internet connection. This chapter fully surveys the knowledge you will need to create such a connection successfully. You'll start by selecting the right modem for your Linux system, installing your modem (without zapping your system), and configuring your modem for Internet use. Although several types of dial-up Internet connectivity are available from Internet service providers (ISPs), by far the most common is the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), which is featured in this chapter. By the time you have finished following this chapter's steps, you should have a working PPP connection. If you are inclined to know more about the technical details, you will find a brief discussion at the close of this chapter.
As explained in the Introduction, this chapter-like all the chapters in this book-features the networking utilities available for the KDE Desktop Environment (http:// www.kde.org). In particular, this chapter features KPPP, which most Linux users consider to be the best such utility available. However, you should be aware that your Linux distribution may make other modem and Internet connectivity utilities available. For example, Red Hat Linux version 6.1 and later offers a PPP connection utility that is just as easy to use as KPPP. In addition, the Red Hat utility is tailored to certain peculiarities of the Red Hat distribution. If you are having trouble getting KPPP to work, try the PPP utility provided by your Linux distribution. In addition, this chapter's closing section, "Looking Under the Hood," shows you how to use textmode utilities to establish a PPP connection.
What you will NeedTo connect to the Internet using the instructions in this chapter, you will need the following:
- PPP account with an Internet service provider. Service from local and national ISPs is available in almost all areas. In the U.S., check your Yellow Pages under "Computer Networks" for ISPs that operate in your area.
- Information about your PPP connection. When you sign up your account, make sure you obtain the following information: the telephone number to dial,
the type of authentication (PAP or CHAP), your login name (also called username), your password, the Internet addresses of the primary and secondary DNS servers you need to use, the type of Internet address your computer will have (static or dynamic), and the IP address of your ISP's default gateway, if any. If your ISP uses static IP addressing, find out which IP address to use. It is unnecessary to worry about what all this information means just now; you just need to know this information so that you can supply it to KPPP.
- A Linux-compatible modem. As the next section explains, not all modems work with Linux.
Getting the Right ModemChances are you are already familiar with modems, those all-butessential devices that translate the Os and Is of your computer's internal messaging into the warbling sounds that can be carried by analog telephone systems. This process is known as modulation. A modem at the receiving computer translates the sound from the telephone back into Is and Os, which is a process known as demodulation.
In most cases, you can get almost any modem working with Linux in short order. As this section explains, though, it is worth learning a bit more about modems so that you can choose the ideal modem for your Linux system.
If you run into trouble getting your modem to work with Linux, please bear in mind that modems are relatively cheap. Which is worth more, your time or the $50 it takes to purchase a modem that's fully compatible with Linux?
When we are talking about modems here, note that we are talking about real modems-that is, modems that are designed to work with the analog telephone system. Available today are various highspeed Internet connections, such as cable services, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), and ISDN; the devices used to connect to such services are often called "modems," but this term is inaccurate. These services bypass analog phone connections and offer an alldigital connection. Most of these connections require you to install an Ethernet networking card. You'll learn more about Ethernet cards and these high-speed services later in this book.