LPI Linux Certification/Basic Networking Configuration

Detailed ObjectiveEdit

Weight: 5

Candidates should be able to configure a network device to be able to connect to a local, wired or wireless, and a wide-area network. This objective includes being able to communicate between various subnets within a single network, configure dialup access, its authentication protocols and logging.

  • Key knowledge area(s):
    • Utilities to configure and manipulate ethernet network interfaces
    • Use and configuration of modems, ISDN interface cards and ethernet interfaces as dialup devices.
    • Authentication protocols such as PAP and CHAP.
    • Configuring wireless networks.
  • The following is a partial list of the used files, terms and utilities:
    • /sbin/route
    • /sbin/ifconfig
    • /bin/ip
    • /sbin/arp
    • /usr/sbin/arpwatch
    • /sbin/iwconfig
    • /sbin/wlanctl-ng
    • /sbin/wpa_supplicant
    • /etc/

Introduction to GettyEdit

getty is the program you run for dialin. You don't need it for dialout. In addition to presenting a login prompt, it also may help answer the telephone. Originally getty was used for logging in to a computer from a dumb terminal. A major use of it today is for logging in to a Linux console. There are several different getty programs but a few of these work OK with modems for dialin. The getty program is usually started at boot-time. It must be called from the /etc/inittab file. In this file you may find some examples which you will likely need to edit a bit. Hopefully these examples will be for the flavor of getty installed on your PC.

There are four different getty programs to choose from that may be used with modems for dial-in: mgetty, uugetty, getty_em, and agetty. A brief overview is given in the following subsections. Agetty is the weakest of the four and it's mainly for use with directly connected text-terminals. mgetty has support for fax and voice mail but Uugetty doesn't. mgetty allegedly lacks a few of the features of uugetty. getty_em is a simplified version of uugetty. Thus mgetty is likely your best choice unless you are already familiar with uugetty (or find it difficult to get mgetty). The syntax for these getty programs differs, so be sure to check that you are using the correct syntax in /etc/inittab for whichever getty you use.

In order to see what documentation exists about the various gettys on your computer, use the "locate" command. Type: locate "*getty*" (including the quotes may help). Note that many distributions just call the program getty even though it may actually be agetty, uugetty, etc. But if you read the man page (type: man getty), it might disclose which getty it is. This should be the getty program with path /sbin/getty.

Getty "exits" after login (and can respawn) :

After you log in you will notice (by using "top", "ps -ax", or "ptree") that the getty process is no longer running. What happened to it? Why does getty restart again if your shell is killed? Here's why : after you type in your user name, getty takes it and calls the login program telling it your user name. The getty process is replaced by the login process. The login process asks for your password, checks it and starts whatever process is specified in your password file. This process is often the bash shell. If so, bash starts and replaces the login process. Note that one process replaces another and that the bash shell process originally started as the getty process. The implications of this will be explained below.

Now in the /etc/inittab file getty is supposed to respawn (restart) if killed. It says so on the line that calls getty.

Example: getty entry from /etc/inittab S0:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -L 9600 ttyS0 vt102

But if the bash shell (or the login process) is killed, getty respawns (restarts). Why? Well, both the login process and bash are replacements for getty and inherit the signal connections establish by their predecessors. In fact if you observe the details you will notice that the replacement process will have the same process ID as the original process. Thus bash is sort of getty in disguise with the same process ID number. If bash is killed it is just like getty was killed (even though getty isn't running anymore). This results in getty respawning.

When one logs out, all the processes on that serial port are killed including the bash shell. This may also happen (if enabled) if a hangup signal is sent to the serial port by a drop of DCD voltage by the modem. Either the logout or drop in DCD will result in getty respawning. One may force getty to respawn by manually killing bash (or login) either by hitting the k key, etc. while in "top" or with the "kill" command. You will likely need to kill it with signal 9 (which can't be ignored).

The cycle illustrated:

      init - spawns -> getty -- starts -> login - starts --> shell
        \                                                      /
         \---------------<<  returns control to <<------------/

You can identify the login shell by a minus in start of the name.

Example: ps output (filtered) walter 32255 0.0 0.7 4012 1772 pts/36 Ss 14:53 0:00 -bash

About mgettyEdit

mgetty was written as a replacement for uugetty which was in existence long before mgetty. Both are for use with modems but mgetty is best (unless you already are committed to uugetty). Mgetty may be also used for directly connected terminals. In addition to allowing dialup logins, mgetty also provides FAX support and auto PPP detection. It permits dialing out when mgetty is waiting for an incoming phone call. There is a supplemental program called vgetty which handles voicemail for some modems. mgetty documentation is fair (except for voice mail). To automatically start PPP one must edit /etc/mgetty/login.conf to enable "AutoPPP" You can find the latest information on mgetty at http://www.leo.org/~doering/mgetty/ and http://alpha.greenie.net/mgetty/

About uugettyEdit

getty_ps contains two programs: getty is used for console and terminal devices, and uugetty for modems. Greg Hankins (former author of Serial-HOWTO) used uugetty so his writings about it are included here. See Uugetty.

About getty_emEdit

This is a simplified version of ``uugetty. It was written by Vern Hoxie after he became fully confused with complex support files needed for getty_ps and uugetty. It is part of the collection of serial port utilities and information by Vern Hoxie available via ftp from scicom.alphacdc.com/pub/linux. The name of the collection is ``serial_suite.tgz.

About agettyEdit

This subsection is long since the author tried using agetty for dialin. agetty is seemingly simple since there are no initialization files. But when I tried it, it opened the serial port even when there was no CD signal present. It then sent both a login prompt and the /etc/issue file to the modem in the AT-command state before a connection was made. The modem thinks all this an AT command and if it does contain any "at" strings (by accident) it is likely to adversely modify your modem profile. Echo wars can start where getty and the modem send the same string back and forth over and over. You may see a "respawning too rapidly" error message if this happens. To prevent this you need to disable all echoing and result codes from the modem (E0 and Q1). Also use the -i option with agetty to prevent any /etc/issue file from being sent.

If you start getty on the modem port and a few seconds later find that you have the login process running on that port instead of getty, it means that a bogus user name has been sent to agetty from the modem. To keep this from happening, I had to save my dial-in profile in the modem so that it become effective at power-on. The other saved profile is for dial-out. Then any dial-out programs which use the modem must use a Z, Z0, or Z1 in their init string to initialize the modem for dial-out (by loading the saved dial-out profile). If the 1-profile is for dial-in you use Z1 to load it, etc. If you want to listen for dial-in later on, then the modem needs to be reset to the dial-in profile. Not all dial-out programs can do this reset upon exit from them.

Thus while agetty may work OK if you set up a dial-in profile correctly in the modem hardware, it's probably best suited for virtual consoles or terminals rather than modems. If agetty is running for dialin, there's no easy way to dial out. When someone first dials in to agetty, they should hit the return key to get the login prompt. agetty in the Debian distribution is just named getty.

About mingetty, and fbgettyEdit

mingetty is a small getty that will work only for monitors (the usual console) so you can't use it with modems for dialin. fbgetty is as above but supports framebuffers.

Basic networking configuration

Configuring PAP/CHAP authentication for PPP

if the server to which you are connecting requires PAP or CHAP authentication, edit your PPP options file and add the following lines :

# force pppd to use your ISP user name as your 'host name' during the authentication process
name <your ISP user name> # you need to edit this line
# If you are running a PPP *server* and need to force PAP or CHAP uncomment the appropriate
# one of the following lines. Do NOT use these is you are a client connecting to a PPP server (even if
# it uses PAP or CHAP) as this tells the SERVER to authenticate itself to your machine (which
# almost certainly can't do - and the link will fail).
# If you are using ENCRYPTED secrets in the /etc/ppp/pap-secrets file, then uncomment the
# following line. Note: this is NOT the same as using MS encrypted passwords as can be
# set up in MS RAS on Windows NT.

Basic networking configuration Using MSCHAP

Microsoft Windows NT RAS can be set up to use a variation on CHAP (Challenge/Handshake Authentication Protocol). In your PPP sources tar ball, you will find a file called README.MSCHAP80 that discusses this.

You can determine if the server is requesting authentication using this protocol by enabling debugging for pppd. If the server is requesting MS CHAP authentication, you will see lines like :

rcvd [LCP ConfReq id=0x2 <asyncmap 0x0> <auth chap 80> <magic 0x46a3>]

The critical information here is auth chap 80. In order to use MS CHAP, you will need to recompile pppd to support this. Please see the instructions in the README.MSCHAP80 file in the PPP source file for instructions on how to compile and use this variation.

You should note that at present this code supports only Linux PPP clients connecting to an MS Windows NT server. It does NOT support setting up a Linux PPP server to use MSCHAP80 authentication from clients.

The PAP/CHAP secrets fileEdit

If you are using pap or chap authentication, then you also need to create the secrets file. These are:


They must be owned by user root, group root and have file permissions 740 for security. The first point to note about PAP and CHAP is that they are designed to authenticate computer systems not users. Huh? What's the difference? I hear you ask. Well now, once your computer has made its PPP connection to the server, ANY user on your system can use that connection - not just you. This is why you can set up a WAN (wide area network) link that joins two LANs (local area networks) using PPP.

PAP can (and for CHAP DOES) require bidirectional authentication - that is a valid name and secret is required on each computer for the other computer involved. However, this is NOT the way most PPP servers offering dial-up PPP PAP-authenticated connections operate.

That being said, your ISP will probably have given you a user name and password to allow you to connect to their system and thence the Internet. Your ISP is not interested in your computer's name at all, so you will probably need to use the user name at your ISP as the name for your computer. This is done using the name user name option to pppd. So, if you are to use the user name given you by your ISP, add the line :

name your_user name_at_your_ISP

to your /etc/ppp/options file. Technically, you should really use user our_user name_at_your_ISP for PAP, but pppd is sufficiently intelligent to interpret name as user if it is required to use PAP. The advantage of using the name option is that this is also valid for CHAP.

As PAP is for authenticating computers, technically you need also to specify a remote computer name. However, as most people only have one ISP, you can use a wild card (*) for the remote host name in the secrets file. It is also worth noting that many ISPs operate multiple modem banks connected to different terminal servers - each with a different name, but ACCESSED from a single (rotary) dial in number. It can therefore be quite difficult in some circumstances to know ahead of time what the name of the remote computer is, as this depends on which terminal server you connect to! Basic networking configuration

The PAP secrets fileEdit

The /etc/ppp/pap-secrets file looks like :

# Secrets for authentication using PAP
# client        server       secret     acceptable_local_IP_addresses

The four fields are white space delimited and the last one can be blank (which is what you want for a dynamic and probably static IP allocation from your ISP). Suppose your ISP gave you a user name of fred and a password of flintstone you would set the name fred option in /etc/ppp/options[.ttySx] and set up your /etc/ppp/pap-secrets file as follows :

# Secrets for authentication using PAP
# client        server  secret  acceptable local IP addresses
fred  * flintstone

This says for the local machine name fred (which we have told pppd to use even though it is not our local machine name) and for ANY server, use the password (secret) of flintstone. Note that we do not need to specify a local IP address, unless we are required to FORCE a particular local, static IP address. Even if you try this, it is unlikely to work as most PPP servers (for security reasons) do not allow the remote system to set the IP number they are to be given.

The CHAP secrets fileEdit

This requires that you have mutual authentication methods - that is you must allow for both your machine to authenticate the remote server AND the remote server to authenticate your machine.

So, if your machine is fred and the remote is barney, your machine would set name fred remotename barney and the remote machine would set name barney remotename fred in their respective /etc/ppp/options.ttySx files.

The /etc/chap-secrets file for fred would look like :

# Secrets for authentication using CHAP
# client        server  secret            acceptable local IP addresses
fred  barney flintstone
barney  fred wilma

and for barney :

# Secrets for authentication using CHAP
# client        server  secret            acceptable local IP addresses
barney          fred    flintstone
fred  barney wilma

Note in particular that both machines must have entries for bidirectional authentication. This allows the local machine to authenticate itself to the remote AND the remote machine to authenticate itself to the local machine.

Handling multiple PAP-authenticated connectionsEdit

Some users have more than one server to which they connect that use PAP. Provided that your user name is different on each machine to which you want to connect, this is not a problem.

However, many users have the same user name on two (or more - even all) systems to which they connect. This then presents a problem in correctly selecting the appropriate line from /etc/ppp/pap- secrets.

As you might expect, PPP provides a mechanism for overcoming this. PPP allows you to set an 'assumed name' for the remote (server) end of the connection using the remotename option to pppd.

Let us suppose that you connect to two PPP servers using the username fred. You set up your /etc/ppp/pap-secrets something like :

fred pppserver1 barney
fred pppserver2 wilma

Now, to set connect to pppserver1 you would use name fred remotename pppserver1 in your ppp- options and for pppserver2 name fred remotename pppserver2.

As you can select the ppp options file to use with pppd using the file filename option, you can set up a script to connect to each of your PPP servers, correctly picking the options file to use and hence selecting the right remotename option.

Key terms, files and utilities :



Last modified on 26 September 2007, at 06:33