Computing & Communications Center

Networking in UNIX

NOTE: It is recommended that you setup your system to use DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) as the Network Operations administrators may change the numbering scheme on a regular basis. Hardcode any numbers below at your own risk! Also note that there is NO static IP addressing for roaming/laptop use. You must use DHCP in this case.

If you run Windows XP on your computer, and use the default network setup, your system will operate properly on the WPI network. However, with the release of many free unices for academic and/or personal development use, you may wish to run a Unix variant on your personal computer (PC). Therefore, this information only applies if you want to run a Unix system (e.g. Linux, Solaris, or FreeBSD) on your computer.

In order to set up your network connection, you must first be connected to the Internet. If you are in a WPI residence hall, you must purchase a network connection in order to activate your network port. You may do this using the Network Registration Page. If you live off-campus, you must purchase an internet connection from an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You must also configure your system according to how your ISP is setup. There are many FAQs pertaining to this subject located at Linux Online. The remainder of this document will focus on setting up a UNIX system on the WPI residential network.

Once you have installed your operating system of choice and activated your network connection, you need to assign your system an IP (Internet Protocol) address. You will use a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) client to have your system discover its IP address automatically. A DHCP client is provided by the Internet Software Consortium. Two common clients available for most Linux platforms are dhclient and pump.

The only address you should need in your host file should be localhost. This is the default setup on most Linux systems, and should be on other Unix variants.

So in summary, in order to setup your computer for the WPI network, you would simply need to:

  1. Register your network card on the Network Registration page.
  2. Install a DHCP client.
  3. Setup your computer to run the client upon start-up.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Helpdesk. There are often a number of people working there who would be willing to try to help out.

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Last modified: Aug 08, 2005, 15:28 EDT
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