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Chapter: Operating Systems - I/O System

Setting up Local Network Services

Linux is increasingly popular in the computer networking/telecommunications industry. Acquiring the Linux operating system is a relatively simple and inexpensive task since virtually all of the source code can be downloaded from several different FTP or HTTP sites on the Internet.

SETTING UP LOCAL NETWORK SERVICES

 

ü Linux is increasingly popular in the computer networking/telecommunications industry. Acquiring the Linux operating system is a relatively simple and inexpensive task since virtually all of the source code can be downloaded from several different FTP or HTTP sites on the Internet. In addition, the most recent version of Red Hat Linux can be purchased from computer retail stores for between $25 and $50, depending on whether you purchase the standard or full version. The retail brand is indeed a worthwhile investment (vs. the free FTP or HTTP versions) since valuable technical support is included directly from the Red Hat Linux engineers for at least a year. This can be very helpful if, for instance, you can not resolve an installation/configuration problem after consulting the Red Hat Linux manuals.

This article describes how to put together a Local Area Network (LAN) consisting of two or more computers using the Red Hat Linux 6.2 operating system. A LAN is a communications network that interconnects a variety of devices and provides a means for exchanging information among those devices. The size and scope of a LAN is usually small, covering a single building or group of buildings. In a LAN, modems and phone lines are not required, and the computers should be close enough to run a network cable between them.

 

2.3.1.    For each computer that will participate in the LAN, you'll need a network interface card (NIC) to which the network cable will be attached. You will also need to assign a unique hostname and IP address to each computer in the LAN (described later in this article), but this requires a basic understanding of TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol).

 

Introduction to TCP/IP

 

ü TCP/IP is the suite of protocols used by the Internet and most LANs throughout the world. In TCP/IP, every host (computer or other communications device) that is connected to the network has a unique IP address. An IP address is composed of four octets (numbers in the range of 0 to 255) separated by decimal points. The IP address is used to uniquely identify a host or computer on the LAN. For example, a computer with the hostname Morpheus could have an IP address of 192.168.7.127. You should avoid giving two or more computers the same IP address by using the range of IP addresses that are reserved for private, local area networks; this range of IP addresses usually begins with the octets 192.168.

 

ü LAN network address The first three octets of an IP address should be the same for all computers in the LAN. For example, if a total of 128 hosts exist in a single LAN, the IP addresses could be assigned starting with 192.168.1.x, where x represents a number in the range of 1 to 128. You could create consecutive LANs within the same company in a similar manner consisting of up to another 128 computers. Of course, you are not limited to 128 computers, as there are other ranges of IP addresses that allow you to build even larger networks.

 

ü There are different classes of networks that determine the size and total possible unique IP addresses of any given LAN. For example, a class A LAN can have over 16 million unique IP addresses. A class B LAN can have over 65,000 unique IP addresses. The size of your LAN depends on which reserved address range you use and the subnet mask (explained later in the article) associated with that range (see Table 1.).

 

 

Address ranges and LAN sizes

 

Network and broadcast addresses

 

Another important aspect of building a LAN is that the addresses at the two extreme ends of the address range are reserved for use as the LAN's network address and broadcast address. The network address is used by an application to represent the overall network. The broadcast address is used by an application to send the same message to all other hosts in the network simultaneously.

•        For example, if you use addresses in the range of 192.168.1.0 to 192.168.1.128, the first address (192.168.1.0) is reserved as the network address, and the last address (192.168.1.128) is reserved as the broadcast address. Therefore, you only assign individual computers on the LAN IP addresses in the range of 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.127:

 

Network address: 192.168.1.0

Individual hosts:  192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.127

Broadcast address:        192.168.1.128

 

Subnet masks

 

ü        Each host in a LAN has a subnet mask. The subnet mask is an octet that uses the number 255 to represent the network address portion of the IP address and a zero to identify the host portion of the address. For example, the subnet mask 255.255.255.0 is used by each host to determine which LAN or class it belongs to. The zero at the end of the subnet mask represents a unique host within that network.

 

 

Assigning IP addresses in a LAN

 

There are two ways to assign IP addresses in a LAN. You can manually assign a static IP address to each computer in the LAN, or you can use a special type of server that automatically assigns a dynamic IP address to each computer as it logs into the network.

 

v Static IP addressing


            Static IP addressing means manually assigning a unique IP address to each computer in the LAN. The first three octets must be the same for each host, and the last digit must be a unique number for each host. In addition, a unique hostname will need to be assigned to each computer. Each host in the LAN will have the same network address (192.168.1.0), broadcast address (192.168.1.128), subnet mask (255.255.255.0), and domain name (yourcompanyname.com). It's a good idea to start by visiting each computer in the LAN and jotting down the hostname and IP address for future reference.

 

v Dynamic IP addressing


Dynamic IP addressing is accomplished via a server or host called DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Program) that automatically assigns a unique IP address to each computer as it connects to the LAN. A similar service called BootP can also automatically assign unique IP addresses to each host in the network. The DHCP/ BootP service is a program or device that will act as a host with a unique IP address. An example of a DHCP device is a router that acts as an Ethernet hub (a communications device that allows multiple host to be connected via an Ethernet jack and a specific port) on one end and allows a connection to the Internet on the opposite end. Furthermore, the DHCP server will also assign the network and broadcast addresses. You will not be required to manually assign hostnames and domain names in a dynamic IP addressing scheme.

 


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