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UNIX Unleashed, System Administrator's Edition

- 20 -


by Salim Douba

Over the past few years, computer networks have become an increasingly integral part of most major production environments. Besides basic file and print services that users can transparently share, networks allowed them to use an ever-expanding suite of other productivity tools such as electronic mail, calendering, and imaging and voice/video conferencing applications. Another factor for the increased popularity of networks in production environments is the Internet. For many organizations, the Internet provided them with yet another business vehicle that they can use to promote their productivity and market reach--let alone the added capability of connecting remote branch offices to the headquarters via the Internet.

For the above reasons, implementing and maintaining networks that can meet the user demands on networked resources and productivity tools are becoming increasingly challenging tasks. UNIX networks are no less challenging than others. If anything, the task of installing and configuring UNIX networks is more complex than others. The complexity stems from the nature of protocols that underlie UNIX networks, namely the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) suit.

This chapter covers the necessary concepts and skills that the UNIX system administrator needs to possess in order to install, configure, and maintain UNIX connectivity. The first part is an overview of the basic concepts that govern TCP/IP communications, and second part provides a detailed treatment of the necessary UNIX tools and skill sets for achieving the objective of maintaining UNIX connectivity.

Basics of TCP/IP Communications

In 1969, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) was given the mandate of looking at developing an experimental packet-switch network. The objective was to connect all government computing resources to a single global network without regard to the hardware or operating system platforms supporting these resources. Consequently, an experimental network, called ARPANET, was built for use in the development and testing of communications protocols that fulfill the assigned mandate. TCP/IP communication protocol suite is a direct product of this effort. Using TCP/IP, large networks connecting hybrid platforms (not just UNIX platforms) can be built. Anything from mainframes to desktop computers can be made to belong to, and communicate across, the same TCP/IP network--there is no better manifestation of this capability than the Internet itself which connects over 10 million computers from vendors the world over.

Request for Comments (RFCs)
Throughout the chapter, as well as some others in this book, references will be made to standard documents that contain the description and formal specification of the TCP/IP protocols being discussed in the form of RFC XXXX, where XXXX refers to the number of the document. For example, RFC 959 is the standards document specifying the File Transfer Protocol. Inquisitive readers might find reading some of the RFCs useful in order to better understand the issues at hand, or even sort problems encountered on their networks. Obtaining copies of the RFCs is a simple matter provided you have access to the Internet. One way of doing it is to send an e-mail to rfc-info@ISI.EDU, using the following format:

To: rfc@ISI.EDU
Subject: getting rfcs
help: ways_to_get_rfcs

In response to this message, you get an e-mail detailing ways by which you can gain access to the RFCs. Methods include FTP, WWW sites, and e-mail.

TCP/IP Protocol Architecture

The TCP/IP communications suite was designed with modularity in mind. This means that instead of developing a solution which integrates all aspects of communications in one single piece of code, the designers wisely chose to break the puzzle into its constituent components and deal with them individually while recognizing the interdependence tying the pieces together. Thus, TCP/IP evolved into a suite of protocols specifying interdependent solutions to the different pieces of the communications puzzle. This approach to problem solving is normally referred to as the layering approach. Consequently, hereafter, reference will be made to the TCP/IP suite as a layered suite of communications.

Figure 20.1 shows the four-layer model of the TCP/IP communications architecture. As shown in the diagram, the model is based on an understanding of data communications that involves four sets of interdependent processes: application representative processes, host representative processes, network representative processes, and media access and delivery representative process. Each set of processes takes care of the needs of entities it represents whenever an application engages in the exchange of data with its counterpart on the network. These process sets are grouped into the following four layers: application layer, host-to-host (also known as transport) layer, internet layer, and network access layer. Each of these layers may be implemented in separate, yet interdependent, pieces of software code.

Figure 20.1.
TCP/IP layered communications architecture.

Application Layer Application representative processes take care of reconciling differences in the data syntax between the platforms on which the communicating applications are running. Communicating with an IBM mainframe, for example, might involve character translation between the EBCDIC and ASCII character sets. While performing the translation task the application layer (for instance, application representative process) need not have (and shouldn't care to have) any understanding of how the underlying protocols (for instance, at the host-to-host layer) handles the transmission of translated characters between hosts. Examples of protocols supported at the application layer include FTP, TELNET, NFS, and DNS.

Host-to-Host Transport Layer Host representative processes (for example, the host-to-host, or transport, layer) take care of communicating data reliably between applications running on hosts across the network. It is the responsibility of the host representative process to guarantee the reliability and integrity of the data being exchanged, without confusing the identities of the communication applications. For this reason the host-to-host layer is provided with the mechanism necessary to allow it to make the distinction between the applications on whose behalf it is making data deliveries. In other words, assume that two hosts, tenor and alto, are connected to the same network, as shown in Figure 20.2. Furthermore, assume that a user on host alto is logged in to FTP on host tenor. Also, while using FTP to transfer files, the user is utilizing TELNET to login in to host tenor to edit a document.

In this scenario, data exchanged between both hosts could be due to TELNET, FTP, or both. It is the responsibility of the host-to-host layer, hereafter called the transport layer, to make sure that data is sent and delivered to its intended party. What originates from FTP at either end of the connection should be delivered to FTP at the other end. Likewise, TELNET-generated traffic should be delivered to TELNET at the other end, not to FTP. To achieve this, as will be discussed later, the transport layer at both ends of the connection must cooperate in clearly marking data packets so that the nature of the communicating applications is easily identifiable. Protocols operating at the transport layer include both UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). Later sections will cover the characteristics of both protocols.

Figure 20.2.
Host-to-host (transport layer) is responsible for connecting applications and for delivering data to its destined process.

Internet Layer The internet layer is responsible for determining the best route that data packets should follow to reach their destination. If the destination host is attached to the same network, data is delivered directly to that host by the network access layer; otherwise, if the host belongs to some other network, the internet layer employs a routing process for discovering the route to that host. Once the route is discovered, data is delivered through intermediate devices, called routers, to its destination. Routers are special devices with connections to two or more networks. Every router contains an implementation of TCP/IP up to and including the internet layer.

As shown in Figure 20.3, hosts alto and tenor belong to different networks. The intervening networks are connected via devices called routers. For host alto to deliver data to host tenor, it has to send its data to router R1 first. Router R1 delivers to R2 and so on until the data packet makes it to host tenor. The "passing-the-buck" process is known as routing and is responsible for delivering data to its ultimate destination. Each of the involved routers is responsible for assisting in the delivery process, including identifying the next router to deliver to in the direction of the desired destination. The protocols that operate at the internet layer include IP (Internet Protocol), and RIP (Route Information Protocol) among others.

Figure 20.3.
Routers cooperate in the delivery of data packets to their destinations.

Network Access Layer The network access layer is where media access and transmission mechanisms take place. At this layer, both the hardware and the software drivers are implemented. The protocols at this layer provide the means for the system to deliver data to other devices on a directly attached network. This is the only layer that is aware of the physical characteristics of the underlying network, including rules of access, data frame (name of a unit of data at this layer) structure, and addressing.

While the network access layer is equipped with the means for delivering data to devices on a directly attached network, it does so based on directions from IP at the internet layer. To understand the implications of this statement, look at the internetwork of Figure 20.3. Hosts jade and alto are said to belong to the same network since they are directly attached to the same physical wire. In contrast, host tenor belongs to a different network.

When a requirement arises to deliver data out of host alto, the internet layer (in particular the IP protocol) has to determine whether the destined host is directly attached to the same network. If so, IP passes the data packet to the network access layer and instructs it to deliver the data to the designated host. So, should, for example, the packet be destined to host jade, IP instructs the network access layer to take the necessary steps to deliver it to that host.

However, if IP on host alto is required to deliver the data packet to a host on a different network (for instance, host tenor), IP has to determine to which network the host belongs and how to get the packet there. As can be seen from the diagram, to deliver packets to host tenor, IP in host alto has to send the packet first to router R1, then R1 in turn has to forward it to R2 (or R3), and so on, as explained in the previous subsection. Consequently, IP passes the packet on to the network access layer and instructs it to deliver the packet to router R1. Notice how in both cases, the case of a host directly attached to same network (host jade) and the case of a host on different network (host tenor), the network access layer followed the addressing instructions imposed by IP at the internet layer. In other words, the network access layer relies on IP at the layer above it to know where to send the data.

TCP/IP Data Encapsulation

As data is passed down the layers, the protocol handling it at that layer adds its own control information before passing the data down to the layer below it. This control information is called the protocol header (simply because it's prepended to the data to be transmitted) and is meant to assist in the delivery of user data. Each layer is oblivious to the headers added to the user data by the layers above it. The process of adding headers to the user data is called data encapsulation.

Using headers, TCP/IP protocols engage in peer talk with their counterparts across the network. As shown in Figure 20.4, when data reaches its ultimate destination, each layer strips off its header information before passing the data on to the layer above. Subsequently, each header is interpreted and used in the handling of the user data.

Figure 20.4.
Data encapsulation under TCP/IP. All headers but the network access layer's remain the same. The network access layer's header is a function of the underlying physical network.

Following are examples of what each header can contain:

The Network Access Layer

The network access layer is responsible for the delivery of data to devices connected to the same physical network. It is the only layer that is aware of the details of the underlying network. In other words, the network access layer is aware of details such as the media type (unshielded twisted pair, fiber, coax, and so on), electronic encoding of data, and media access method. Given that TCP/IP formalizes the exchange of data across protocol boundaries in the same host, you can see how a new network access technology can be implemented without affecting the rest of the protocol hierarchy. Ethernet and Token-ring are examples of underlying technologies that the network access layer relies on to receive data from, or deliver data to, the network.

The network access layer implementation includes the network interface card (that is, the communications hardware) that complies with the communications media, and the protocols that handle all the action (see Figure 20.5). An example of protocols implemented at this level is the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP, discussed in the "Address Resolution Protocol" section), which takes care of mapping the IP symbolic address to the corresponding hardware (MAC) address. It is worth noting from the diagram, that not all data that the network interface card (NIC) receives from the network is passed up the layer hierarchy. Some data might have to be passed by the MAC driver to adjacent protocols coexisting with the driver at the network access layer (for example, Reverse Address Resolution Protocol, discussed later in the chapter). This feature is commonly known as data multiplexing.

Figure 20.5.
The network access layer is aware of the details of the underlying physical network. It includes protocols implemented in software as well as the network interface card.

Among other functions, the network access layer encapsulates data that is passed to it by the internet layer into frames for subsequent delivery to the network. Keep in mind, however, that the frame format is a function of the media access technology in use, whereas the data format of upper layer protocols never changes.

The Internet Layer

Two protocols are implemented at this level: the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP, RFC792), and the Internet Protocol (RFC791). The purpose of the Internet Protocol (IP) is to handle routing of data around the internetwork (commonly known as the internet), while that of ICMP is to handle routing error detection and recovery. IP is the cornerstone of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. All TCP/IP protocols communicate with their peers on the network by riding IP datagrams. Figure 20.6 shows the data structure of the IP datagram (including both the IP header and data passed on from the layer above). IP's header fields are presented in the following discussion of its functions. But first, take a look at its two main characteristics.

Figure 20.6.
IP datagram structure. The shaded part is IP's header. IP is oblivious to the contents of the data field passed on by the protocol in the layer above.

Main Characteristics of IP IP is a connectionless protocol. This means that IP does not attempt to establish a connection with its peer prior to sending data to it. A connection oriented protocol undergoes a sort of handshake with its peer in the remote system; the purpose of the handshake is twofold: it verifies the readiness of the remote peer to receive data before it is sent; and during the handshake both ends of the connection try to reach a mutual agreement on some of the parameters that should govern the data exchange process. An example of a negotiated parameter is the maximum size of the data unit that can be exchanged during the connection.

In addition to being connectionless, IP delivers an unreliable service. The unreliability stems from the fact that IP does not provide error detection and recovery. All that IP cares about is the delivery of data to its designated destination. What happens to the datagram during shipment is a concern that is delegated, by design, to IP service users (higher layer protocols). This is very much similar to the postal service, which delivers mail on a best effort basis, while not caring about the quality of what is being shipped or received.

Functions of IP

IP functions include:

Data encapsulation and header formatting

Data routing across the internetwork

Passing data to other protocols

Fragmentation and reassembly

Data Encapsulation Data encapsulation involves accepting data from the transport layer, and adding to it IP's header control information. As shown in Figure 20.6, the IP header is five or six 32-bit words in length; this is because the sixth word is optional, justifying the IHL field (the Internet Header Length). The first field refers to the version of IP in use, with the current one being number 4. The third field is the type-of-service field (TOS). TOS can be set to specify a desired class of service, as requested by applications. Examples of class of service supported by IP are: minimum delay, which is requested by application protocols such as RLOGIN and TELNET, and maximum throughput, which is requested by applications such as FTP and SMTP.

The total length field minus the IHL field indicate to IP the length of the data field. Both the identification and fragmentation fields will be discussed under Fragmentation and Reassembly below. The time to live (TTL) field is initialized by IP to the upper limit on the number of routers that a datagram can cross before it ultimately reaches its destination. Assuming that TTL was set to 32, it is decremented by one by each router it crosses. As soon as TTL reaches zero, the datagram is removed by the next router to detect the anomaly. The underlying idea is that with TTL, a lost datagram can be stopped from endless looping around the network. The protocol number field will be discussed later in this section.

Although IP is an unreliable protocol, in the sense that it does not perform error detection and recovery, it still cares about the integrity of its own control information header. With the help of the header checksum, IP verifies the integrity of data in the header fields. If the integrity check fails, IP simply discards the datagram. IP does not communicate a notification of the failure, also called negative acknowledgment, to the sending host.

The source and destination addresses are 32 bits in length. IP address classes and structure will be dealt with in more detail in the next subsection, "Data Routing." Addresses included in the address fields describe the identities of the ultimate communicating hosts. For example, whenever host alto (in Figure 20.3) is sending data to host tenor, the source and destination address fields will contain the 32-bit IP addresses of these hosts, respectively.

Finally, the options field, which may include other control information, is populated on an as-needed-basis, rendering it variable in size. An example of optional information is the route record, which includes the address of every router the datagram traversed during its trip on the network.

Data Routing Routing is perhaps the most important function that the internet layer performs. IP distinguishes between hosts and gateways. A gateway (see the following Note) in TCP/IP is actually a router that connects two or more networks for the purpose of providing forwarding services between them. Figure 20.7 shows a gateway forwarding a datagram between two networks.

A host is the end system where user applications run. By default, routing on hosts is limited to the delivery of the datagram directly to the remote system, if both hosts are attached to the same network. If not, IP delivers the datagram to a default gateway (i.e. router). The default gateway is defined on the host during TCP/IP configuration, and is a router attached to the same network, which the host should 'trust' for assistance in deliveries made to other hosts on remote networks.

Figure 20.8 illustrates the concept of default routers. Host X in the diagram, is configured to gateway A as its default router. Accordingly, whenever X wants to send data to Y, it delivers the datagram to gateway A (its default router), not B. Upon examining the destination IP address, gateway A realizes that the address belongs to host Y, which is on a network to which gateway B is connected. Consequently, gateway A forwards the datagram to gateway B for the subsequent handling and delivery to host Y.

Routers and Gateways
Currently, the networking industry makes a distinction between a router and a gateway. Routers are said to provide routing services between networks supporting same network protocol stacks. Gateways, on the other hand, connect networks of dissimilar architectures (for example, TCP/IP and Novell's IPX/SPX). Historically, however, the TCP/IP community used the term gateway to refer to routing devices. Throughout this chapter, both terms are used interchangeably to refer to routing.

Figure 20.7.
A gateway providing routing services between two networks.

Figure 20.8.
A host on an IP network forwards all deliveries pertaining to remote networks to its default router.

UNIX allows a host to attach to more than one network using multiple interface cards, each attaching to a different network. Such a host is commonly referred to as a multihomed host. Furthermore, a UNIX multihomed host can optionally be configured to route data between networks to which it is attached. In other words, it can be made to partly behave as a router. Otherwise, it behaves in exactly the same fashion as other hosts with a single interface card, the difference being that all hosts on networks to which it is attached can engage in the exchange of data with applications it supports.

Passing Data to Other Protocols It was mentioned earlier in the chapter that all TCP/IP protocols send their data in IP datagrams. Hence, to assist IP in submitting a datagram it receives from the wire to the intended protocol, a protocol field is included in IP's header. By TCP/IP standards, each protocol that uses IP routing services is assigned a protocol identification number. Setting the protocol field to 6, for example, designates the TCP protocol, whereas 1 designates the ICMP protocol. A protocol number of 0, however, designates the IP protocol, in which case encapsulated data is processed by IP itself. Figure 20.9 illustrates how the protocol field is used to sort datagrams for subsequent delivery to their destined protocols.

Figure 20.9.
When IP receives a datagram from the wire, it internally routes the datagram to one of the shown protocols based on identification information contained in IP's header protocol field.

Fragmentation and Reassembly As shown in Figure 20.6, the total length field in the IP header is 16 bits wide, which means that the largest datagram IP is allowed to handle is 64 Kilobytes (65535 bytes) in size. However, some underlying networks (media access technologies) do not tolerate as much data in a single frame. An Ethernet frame, for example, cannot exceed 1514 bytes. In cases like these, IP resorts to what is known as data fragmentation. Fragmentation takes place whenever data in sizes exceeding the frame capacity is passed to IP by another protocol, for subsequent handling on the network.

Although all data fragments are normally delivered using the same route, there is always a possibility that a few of them traverse alternate routes. This may happen due to rising congestion on paths followed by earlier fragments, or to link failure. Whatever the case may be, fragments following different routes stand the chance of reaching their destination out of the order in which they were sent. To allow for the recovery from such an eventuality, IP makes use of the fragmentation offset field in its header. The fragmentation offset field includes sequencing information, which the remote IP peer uses to reorder data fragments it receives from the network, and to detect missing packets. Data is not passed to the protocol described in the protocol field unless all related fragments are duly received and reordered. This process of fragment recovery and resequencing is known as data reassembly.

How does IP deal with situations where it is required to fragment two or more large datagrams at the same time? What if all data is being sent to the same remote host? How can the receiving host distinguish between fragments belonging to different datagrams? Well, the answer to these questions lies in the identification field. Fragments belonging to the same datagram are uniquely associated by including the same value in the identification field. The receiving end makes use of this value in order to recover the IP fragments to their respective datagrams.

Finally, you may be asking yourself these questions: How can a receiving IP tell whether data is fragmented? How does it know when all fragments are being sent? Answers to both questions lie in the header flags field. Among other bits, the flags field includes a more fragments bit, which is set "on" in all fragments belonging to a datagram, except for the final fragment.

The Internet Control Message Protocol The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) forms an integral part of the IP protocol. It is the "messenger" that couriers messages between hosts. ICMP messages carry control, informational, and error recovery data. Below is a description of some of those messages:

You can invoke ICMP by using the UNIX ping command to check on the reachability of a remote host as shown here:

# ping is alive

ping invokes an ICMP echo request message that is sent to the designated host. If, upon receiving the echo request, the host responds with an ICMP echo response message, it is reported as being alive (as shown in the example), and hence, reachable. Otherwise, the host is deemed not reachable.

IP Address Structure In TCP/IP, every device on the network derives its unique complete network address by virtue of an address assignment to which the device is configured (more on configuration later in the chapter). The reason the address is termed complete is because it is pretty much all that is needed to locate it on the network regardless of its size (similar to the postal address, which completely describes your home address--thus helping others to unambiguously locate you).

The assigned address is known as a symbolic IP address, and is made up of two parts: 1) the network address, which is common to all hosts and devices on the same physical network, and 2) the node address, which is unique to the host on that network. As you will see, neither part has anything to do with the actual hardwired MAC address on the network address card. As a matter of fact, a network administrator has the freedom to change the node part of the address (with some restrictions), and to a lesser degree the network address, irrespective of the MAC address. For this reason, the address is described as symbolic.

Confusing as it may initially sound, the IP protocol uses these symbolic addresses to route data on the network. In other words, when a user requests that a telnet session be established with another host, TCP/IP uses the administrator assigned 32-bit IP addresses in order to connect and establish the telnet session between both the requesting and the target hosts. The details of this are going to be tackled later in the chapter (refer to the "Address Resolution Protocol" section. First, have a look at how IP addresses are made, and the classes to which they belong.

The IP address is 32 bits (or four bytes) long, including both the network and the node addresses, and it occupies the IP source and destination address fields of the IP header. How many bits of the address belong to the network part, versus the number of bits that belong to the node part is dependent on the IP address class into which the address falls. IP defines three main classes: A, B, and C. There is a class D, which is lesser in significance than the other ones and will be touched on very briefly.

Figure 20.10 shows the different address formats corresponding to each of the three main classes that IP supports. Each IP address class is distinguishable by the very first few bits of the network portion. The following is a listing of the different IP classes and the rules by which they are governed:

Figure 20.10.
IP Address classes, and their corresponding structures.

Class A address: The first bit is fixed to 0, and the first byte is called the network id and identifies the network. The remaining three bytes are used to identify the host on the network, and comprise the host id. It can be calculated that there is a maximum of 127 class A networks, with each capable of accommodating millions of hosts.

Class B address: The first two bits are fixed to 10, the first and second byte are used to identify the network, and the last two bytes are used to identify the host. There can be 65,535 hosts on class B networks, capable of accommodating thousands of hosts.

Class C address: The first three bits are fixed to 110, the first, second, and third bytes are used to identify the network, and the last byte is used to identify the host. Class C networks are the smallest of all classes, as each can accommodate a maximum of 254 hosts (not 256, because 0x0 and 0xFF are reserved for other purposes). With three bytes reserved to identify the network, millions of class C networks can be defined.

Class D address: The first four bits are fixed to 1110. A class D address is a multicast address, identifying a group of computers that may be running a distributed application on the network. As such, class D does not describe a network of hosts on the wire.

To make address administration a relatively easy task, TCP/IP network administrators can configure hosts, and routers, with addresses by using what is commonly known as dotted decimal notation. Dotted decimal notation treats the 32-bit address as four separate, yet contiguous, bytes. Each byte is represented by its decimal equivalent, which lies between 0 and 255 (the decimal range equivalent to an 8-bit binary pattern). Figure 20.11 shows an example of a class A address in both binary and dotted decimal ( notation.

Figure 20.11.
IP address in binary and the equivalent dotted decimal notation.

Given that an 8-bit binary pattern can assume any decimal equivalent in the range of 0 to 255 and given the initial bits of a certain class, you should be able to tell from the first byte the class of the network. Table 20.1 below depicts the range of values for the first byte of each of the IP address that classes can assume.

Table 20.1. IP address classes and the range of values their respective first byte can assume.

Address Class Decimal Range
A 0--127
B 128--191
C 192--223

Consider the address By applying the rules learned above, it can be determined that this is a class B address, since the first byte lies in the 128 to 191 range of values. And since a class B address has the first two bytes for a network address, it can be derived that the network address is 148.29 while the host address is 4.121 on that network. To generalize, given an IP address, its class can be recognized by interpreting the first byte. Consequently, the network portion of the address can be derived from the remaining bytes.

Figure 20.12 shows an example of a class B network. Notice how all the hosts have the 148.29 network address in common. A host misconfigured (for example, host X in Figure 4.4b) to any other network address will not be able to talk to other hosts on the network, be it on same physical network or other router connected networks. When a host or any other network device is assigned an IP address, IP derives its network class and network address from that assignment (148.29). Later, when it is required to deliver a datagram to a host, it compares the network address of the destination address submitted by the transport protocol (TCP or UDP) to that of its own. If the addresses match, IP refrains from routing the datagram (as explained earlier, the datagram won't be sent to a router for assistance in delivery). Instead, IP assumes that the host is on the same network and, therefore, attempts a direct delivery to the designated node address.

Figure 20.12.
(a) A properly configured network has all of the hosts belonging to it assigned the same network address Host X is configured to a network address that is inconsistent with the other hosts, resulting in routing conflicts.

Assuming that you are on host X and want to establish a file transfer session with host A on the network, you can enter the command:


Refer to the "Domain Name System" section later in this chapter to learn how to specify a host using a name instead of the IP address.

TCP picks up the address and passes it to IP, at the Internet layer, along with a TCP segment (which in turn contains the user request for FTP connection) that it wants delivered to host A. IP, on host X, compares its own network address (147.29) with that of host A (148.29). Since they are not the same, IP concludes that host A must belong to a remote network, and therefore direct delivery is not possible. For simplicity, assume that the network in Figure 20.4b is the only one in its environment, in which case there can be no routers on the wire. IP won't be able to forward the packet any further and will report a failure to deliver to the upper layer or application.

In Figure 20.13 you are shown two networks, a class B Ethernet network and a Token-ring class A network. A router is also shown connecting the two networks. An important observation to make is that the router is configured to two addresses, and The question that normally arises is, which of the two is the address? Well, as a matter of fact an address which you assign to the host is assigned to, or associated with, the network interface card that attaches the host to the network. Hence, in the case of a router and multihomed host, an address is required for every NIC card supported. Depending on which network the NIC attaches the host to, it must be assigned an IP address with a network part consistent with the network address assigned to the rest of the hosts community. Hosts on the Token-ring network use to address the router, whereas those on Ethernet use

Figure 20.13.
Routers are assigned as many addresses as network interface cards support.

You saw earlier that all 0s and all 1s (0x0 and 0xff, respectively) are reserved for special purposes, and therefore cannot be used to designate a node on the network. This is because an all 0s node address refers to all nodes on the network. For example, in the routing table of the router in Figure 20.13, a destination address of refers to all hosts on the Token-ring network . While an all 1s node address is normally used to broadcast a message to all hosts on that network. Therefore, a host transmitting a broadcast message to will have the message picked up by all active hosts on the Token-ring network only. Similarly, a broadcast to will be picked up by all hosts on the Ethernet.

In addition to the reservations made on the node addresses described above, there are two class A network addresses that bear a special significance and cannot be used to designate a network. They are network addresses 0 and 127. Network 0 is used to designate the default route, whereas 127 is used to designate this host or the loopback address. As explained previously (refer to the "Data Routing" section) in this chapter, the default route refers to a router configuration that makes the routing of packets to destinations that are unknown to the router possible. The loopback address is used to designate the localhost and is used to send to the interface an IP datagram in exactly the same way other interfaces on the network are addressed. Conventionally, is the address which is used to designate the local host. You can, however, use any other class A 127 address for the same purpose. For example is valid for designating the local host as is the This is because a datagram sent to the loopback interface must not, in any case, be transmitted on the wire.

Subnet Mask Class B networks accommodate approximately 65,000 hosts each, whereas Class A networks accommodate thousands of nodes. In practice, however, it is not feasible to put all on the same network. Here are two considerations:

In recognition of the eventual requirement that organizations might need to break their networks into smaller subnetworks, the TCP/IP protocol stack supports the use of same network address to achieve this objective. The use of same network address to implement a router-connected subnetworks is achieved by modifying the IP address structure, to extend the network ID portion beyond its default boundary. The mechanism for doing so is called subnet masking.

Because is a Class B address, its default network ID consists of the two leftmost bytes (148.29), and the two lowest bytes are the node address (0.0). A network designer may choose to extend the network ID to include all of the second significant byte in order to break the network into smaller ones. Thus the only byte left for the node ID becomes the rightmost byte. Figure 20.14 illustrates the situation. As shown, each of the networks is now identified using the three left-most bytes (as though dealing with Class C networks). In other words, all hosts on the Token-ring network must have the 148.29.3 portion common to their addresses. Similarly, on the Ethernet networks, the 148.29.1 must be common to all addresses of hosts on the segment Ethernet 1, and 148.29.3 in common for all hosts on segment Ethernet 2.

Figure 20.14
A Class B address ( being used on a subnetted network.

How does TCP/IP on a host or router know how to split the network address between the network ID and the host ID? Unless specified, TCP/IP assumes the default (16 bits for the network ID and 16 bits for the host ID for Class B addresses). To specify a different split, TCP/IP software supports a configuration parameter that is referred to as a subnet mask. Using a subnet mask, you can tell TCP/IP (in particular, IP protocol) which bytes constitute the network ID as opposed to the node ID.

A subnet mask is a 32-bit number that is applied to an IP address to identify the network and node address of a host or router interface. As a rule, you are required to assign a binary 1 to those bits in the mask that correspond in position to the bits that you want IP to treat as part of the network ID. Similar to the IP address when specified, the subnet mask is normally using the dotted decimal notation. As such, the default subnet masks corresponding to Classes A, B, and C networks are, and, respectively (see Figure 20.15). In order to extend the network ID to include the third byte in a Class B address, its subnet mask then becomes (same as Class C's).

Figure 20.15.
Default subnet masks. Bits set to 1 in the mask correspond to the bits in the IP address that should be treated as part of the network ID.

IP Routing Dynamics Now that we have enough of the needed background information, let's proceed to detailing the dynamics that govern the routing of data around the network. The depiction includes illustrations about some of the commonly useful and related UNIX commands.

As explained earlier, routers take part in the delivery of data only if the data is being exchanged between hosts that are connected to two different networks. Data being exchanged between hosts on the same network is never routed. For example, should host trumpet need to send data to host horn, it sends it directly to host horn without asking for the intervention of any of the routers (R1 and R2). Consequently, the data packets being exchanged between both hosts never shows on other networks--they rather it remains local to the network that both hosts belong to.

The IP protocol decides whether the destined host belongs to the same network by comparing the network ID portion of that host with its host's. Whenever the network IDs of both the originating and destination hosts mismatch, the IP protocol tries to seek the help of a router on the same network. As a network may have more than one router connecting it to other networks, IP chooses the router it trusts to be closer to the designated destination. If one is found, the data packet is forwarded to that router. As will be explained in the next subsection, IP knows which of the routers to forward the data to by looking up a routing database called route information table (RIT).

Figure 20.16.
IP data routing.

In Figure 20.16, whenever host trumpet wants to deliver to host trombone, the following happens:

1. Host trumpet compares its network ID of 100 with that of host trombone's of 148.67 (being Class B). Since they are different, the next step is to seek a router's help.

2. IP in host trumpet searches its RIT for a router it trusts that is closer to the destination network (148.67). If the routing table is properly maintained, host trumpet identifies router R3 as being the desired router. Consequently, the data packet is forwarded to that router.

3. Router R3 receives the data packet and compares the destination address encapsulated in the Destination Address field of the IP packet to the ID of the networks to which it is connected. The outcome of the comparison allows router R3 to decide whether the designated host belongs to any of these networks. If so, the packet is sent directly to the host. Otherwise, router R3 goes through step 2 above. In our case, since host trombone belongs to network (to which router R3 is directly attached), the comparison is favorable to sending the packet directly to that host.

Route Information Table (RIT) As mentioned in the previous section, IP protocol performs its routing function by consulting a database that contains information about routes (networks) that it recognizes. This database is called the route information table, and it is built and maintained by yet another protocol called the Route Information Protocol (RIP). RIP handles route discovery--that is, it is a process whose main purpose is to identify all the networks on the internetwork and the routers that are closest to each network. RIP is a protocol that runs on all hosts on routers. Hence, every RIP constructs and maintains the database (road map) from the perspective of the workstation or router in which it is running. The RIP includes the following information on each destination it recognizes on the internetwork:

For example, host trumpet's routing table (see Figure 20.16) would include an entry saying that it is 2 hops (the distance or metric) or routers away from network, and that the next router to deliver to is at address Router R2's routing table entry would say that it is one router away from the same destination network (, and that the next router to send the data to is R3.

The UNIX command to display the contents of the routing information table is netstat -rn as shown here:

# netstat -rn
Routing tables
Destination     Gateway            Flags    Refs     Use  Interface           UH      1        0      lo0       UGH     0        0      e3B0
100              U       4        51     wdn0
221.78.39       UG      0        0      e3B0
default        UG      0        0      e3B0
198.53.237        U       3        624    e3B0

Here is how to interpret each of the preceding columns:

U: The route is up. This implies that the destination is reachable.

H: The route is specific, or leads, to a certain host (as shown in the first and second entries in the above example.

G: The route is indirectly accessible via other routers. If the G flag is not set it means that the router (or host) is directly connected to that route.

D: The route is created by the ICMP protocol's route redirect message.

M: The route is modified by the ICMP protocol's route redirect message.

Route Table Maintenance TCP/IP supports both static and dynamic means of maintaining the routing table. Static means of maintaining the routing table mainly involve the use of the two UNIX commands: ifconfig and route add. Using ifconfig, a network interface card can be configured to an IP address and the applicable subnet mask as shown in the following example:

# ifconfig e3B0

Aside from configuring the interface (e3B0) to the specified address and subnet mask, the ifconfig command has the effect of updating the route information table with a static route information pertaining to the directly attached network (i.e. as shown in the previous listing of the output of netstat -rn command.

Using the route add command a static route can be entered to the routing table of a UNIX host. The syntax of the route command is:

route add destination_address next_router metric

in which destination_address is the route you want to add to the routing table.

next_router is the address of the next router to forward the datagrams to.

metric is a measure of distance to the destination, normally expressed in number of intervening routers.

The following example shows how route add can be used to add a new destination to the routing table:

# route add 1

The following example shows how to use route add to configure a host for the default route entry:

# route add 1

By virtue of the preceding entry, the host in question is being configured to recognize the router at address as being its default gateway.

Dynamic route maintenance involves the automatic addition of new discovered routes to the route table. It also involves deletions of routes that are no longer valid by virtue of network reconfiguration or due to failures. There are several protocols that might be employed for the task of dynamic route maintenance. Among the currently common ones are Route Information Protocol (RIP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), and Internet Control Messaging Protocol (ICMP). Of the three only ICMP was briefly discussed earlier in the chapter. For detailed treatment of all routing information protocols the reader is referred to the section "Networking".

Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) Every network interface card is guaranteed to have a unique 48-bit address hardwired to the card itself. This address is commonly referred to as Medium Access Layer (MAC) address. The IP address you assign to a host is independent of the MAC address which is hardwired on the network interface card in that host. As such, every host ends up maintaining two addresses, the IP address which is significant to TCP/IP protocols only, and the MAC address which is significant to the network access layer only. Data frames exchanged on the wire however, rely on the latter address, which indicates that there must be some sort of binding relation between these two forms of addresses. This section unravels this relationship. In particular, you will be shown how, given the IP address of a target host, the network access layer finds the corresponding MAC address, used later by the MAC protocol (e.g. Ethernet) to communicate data frames.

Figure 20.17 includes a depiction of the events which take place between two hosts when they try to talk to each other. In the diagram, both the IP address and the MAC layer addresses are shown for both hosts. It is assumed that a user on host jade wanted to establish a TELNET session with host orbit. The following is what happens:

Figure 20.17.
IP address to physical MAC address resolution using ARP protocol.

1. As a result of the user entering the command telnet jade, the application (telnet, in this case) resolves the name jade to its corresponding IP address. See the note below for an introductory description of name resolution under TCP/IP (more details are provided later in the chapter). By the end of this stage, telnet will have determined that host jade's address is

2. Next, telnet passes the address ( to TCP/IP and requests connection to the target host. Subsequently, TCP packages the request in a TCP header and passes it along with the address to the IP protocol, requesting delivery to corresponding host.

3. At this point, IP compares jade's address with other destination addresses included in its routing database. Because both the source and target host have the same network id (, IP decides to make a direct delivery to jade. Subsequently, IP encapsulates the request passed to it by TCP in an IP datagram, including the destination and source IP addresses ( and Then it submits the datagram, along with jade's IP address to the network access layer for delivery on the physical network.

4. This is where ARP comes in to handle the resolution of the IP address, which is useless from Ethernet's point of view (assuming Ethernet at the MAC layer) to a MAC address which Ethernet understands. Put differently, ARP translates the symbolic IP address, assigned by the administrator, to the corresponding physical address which the host uses to identify itself at the physical and data link levels.

ARP handles address resolution by sending out of the MAC interface (Ethernet) a broadcast message known as ARP request, which simply says "I, host, physically addressable at 0x00001b3b21b2, want to know the physical address of host". Of all of the hosts which receive the broadcast, only jade responds using a directed ARP response packet which says "I am, and my physical address is 0x0000c015ad18."

5. At this point, both hosts become aware of the other's physical identity. The network access layer (on host orbit) then proceeds to the actual phase of data exchange by encapsulating the IP datagram, which it kept on hold until the ARP query was favorably answered, in a data frame and sending it to host jade.

NOTE: TCP/IP protocol suites define what is known as name services. Name services relieve users from the tedious and inconvenient task of entering target host IP addresses, simply by allowing them to specify a name designating that host. The simplest method of mapping the host name to its actual IP address involves the use of a hosts file which is normally maintained in the /etc directory of every host. The hosts file is an ASCII file with two columns: the IP address column and the host names column, similar to the one below

#IP address    host name
...    ...    jade    orbit
...    ...

When a user enters telnet jade, one way for telnet to find the corresponding IP address is by consulting the /etc/hosts database.

ARP Cache When an IP address is resolved to its equivalent MAC address, ARP maintains the mapping in its own special ARP cache memory, improving transmission efficiency and the response time to user requests. Another benefit of ARP caching is the bandwidth saving realized by not requiring that a host sends an ARP request broadcast every time it has data to send to the same target host.

ARP cache can be checked using the arp command as shown in the following.

$ arp -a
jade <> at 0:0:1b:3b:21:b2

How long ARP maintains an entry in its cache table is a function of how often the host communicates with a specific host, and vendor implementation.

Proxy ARP Proxy ARP is an implementation of ARP at the router which is designed to handle ARP queries on behalf of hosts on remote networks. Looking at Figure 4.10, with proxy ARP on the router, then whenever jade sends out an ARP query requesting the MAC address corresponding to IP address, the following events take place:

Figure 4.18.
Proxy ARP on the router handles ARP queries on behalf of remote hosts on the network.

1. The ARP request broadcast is picked up by the router.

2. If the router recognizes the address as one belonging to a network which it can reach, it responds to the "ARPing" host with its own MAC address. Otherwise it discards the request silently.

3. From here, data destined to host emerald is delivered directly to the router, which in turn routes the data to emerald (how? Remember that routers route data based on the IP address embedded in the IP header, which in this case will be emerald's).

The Host-to-Host Transport Layer

The host-to-host layer is mainly supported by two protocols: User Datagram Protocol (UDP), and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Whereas the former is a connectionless and unreliable protocol, the latter is a connection oriented and fully reliable protocol. Figure 20.19 shows the data structures of both protocol headers. Rather than delving deeply into the meaning of each field, this section focuses on the general features of both protocols and the use of the source and destination port numbers in both headers. The reader interested in a rigorous treatment of both protocols is referred to the book "Networking UNIX" by Sams Publishing ISBN 0-672-30584-4.

Figure 20.19.
a) Header of UDP, and b) Header of TCP transport protocol. Both protocols include source and destination port numbers identifying the applications on whose behalf they are exchanging data.

At the transport layer, application layer protocols are assigned port numbers. Port numbers are used in the source and destination port fields included in the transport protocol header. Transport layer protocols use them in much the same way as IP uses the protocol field. IP uses the protocol field to identify the protocol to deliver the contents of the data field to (see earlier discussion of IP header). Port numbers are used to distinguish between the applications using the services of the transport layer protocol.

Figure 20.20 illustrates this concept. In the figure, you are shown application protocols (SMTP, FTP, DNS, and SNMP), which are engaged in the exchange of data with their respective counterparts on remote host B. Unless the transport protocol at both ends uses port numbers, it will be confusing, if not impossible, for it to deliver the data to the appropriate application protocol. As shown in the diagram, at the internet layer, IP decides where to submit the contents of data (whether to ICMP, TCP, UDP, or other) based on the protocol identifier. Assuming IP delivers the contents of the data field (which at this point consists of the user data as well as transport header) to TCP, the latter has to identify the application (FTP, TELNET, SMTP, and so on) to submit the user data to.

Figure 20.20.
While IP relies on the protocol field in its header to internally route data to one of either TCP, UDP, or ICMP, the transport layer protocol (UDP or TCP) relies on port numbers when routing data to the higher user protocols.

If you want to know how the port numbers are assigned, you only need to check out the contents of the file /etc/services. The details of this file are presented in the "/etc/services" section.

UDP Versus TCP UDP is a connectionless, unreliable transport protocol. This means that UDP is not sophisticated enough (as reflected in the structure of its header, see Figure 4.19) to care about the datagrams it sends down the network. Being connectionless, UDP does not negotiate a connection with its peer in the destined for the sake of establishing a control mechanism that guaranties the reliable delivery of data. Once it delivers data to IP for subsequent transmission, UDP simply forgets about it and proceeds to other business.

TCP's behavior is quite opposite to UDP's. Its sophistication allows it to deliver data reliably. TCP's sophistication stems from its ability to establish a connection with its peer on behalf of the applications engaging in the exchange of data. This allows it to successfully track the progress of the data delivery process until the process is successfully concluded. Data lost or damaged on the wire, can be easily recovered by the TCP protocol by virtue of communicating the need for retransmitting the affected data segment to its sending peer across the network.

Why use UDP then, when TCP is the more reliable of the two? To applications that are designed to handle error detection and recovery, using UDP poses no serious threat. Rather, the choice of UDP becomes the reasonable one. Equally qualifying to the use of UDP is the size and nature of data being exchanged. Transactional services involving small amounts of data behave more efficiently using UPD services than TCP. This is especially applicable to transactions in which all the data can be accommodated in one datagram. Should a datagram be lost or deformed, retransmitting that datagram incurs less overhead than is involved in establishing a TCP connection and releasing it later.

Later (refer to the "Network Troubleshooting Using UNIX Tools" section)) you will be shown how to use UNIX commands such as netstat to track transport protocol level activities.

Name Services

One way a user can establish a session with a remote host is by entering the IP address of that host as a command line parameter to the application being invoked. For example, to invoke a remote login session with a host of IP address, the following command can be entered:

# rlogin

Rather than requiring users to enter the IP address of the desired host, TCP/IP provides the means of assigning and administering names to hosts and the accompanying mechanisms responsible for resolving user-specified names to machine-usable IP addresses.

Host names are normally assigned upon system installation. To find the name assigned to your host, use the uname command with the -a option as shown here:

# uname -a
SunOS tenor 5.5.1Generic i86pc i386 i86pc

According to this output, the host name is tenor (second field from the left). To change the name of a host you can use the -S option along with the new name. To change the host name to violin, enter the following:

# uname -S violin

Beware that host name changes are not implemented in the /etc/hosts file. Consequently, whenever the name is changed using the uname command, you ought to implement the change in the /etc/hosts to ensure proper name resolution.

Host Name and the /etc/hosts Table The simplest method of resolving host names to IP addresses involves the maintenance of a host table on every UNIX system. This table is normally maintained in the /etc/hosts file. It is composed of a simple flat database in which each entry describes the IP address of a host and its associated (or assigned) name. Shown here are the contents of a sample hosts file:

#      @(#)hosts    1.2 Lachman System V STREAMS TCP  source
#      IP address    Hostname            aliases     localhost     jade.harmonics.com  jade  pixel     alto     flyer     tenor

As shown, each entry consists of an IP address, the host name associated with the IP address, and, optionally, an alias, where an alias is another name for the same host in question. For example, jade and jade.harmonics.com refer to the same host (that of IP address For a user to establish a telnet session with jade, he has the choice now of entering:

$ telnet jade


$ telnet jade.harmonics.com

All TCP/IP applications, such as telnet and ftp, have a built-in name resolution mechanism that looks at the host's table and returns the corresponding IP address to the invoked application. The application then proceeds to contacting the corresponding host across the network. Failure to resolve the name to an IP address normally results in the error message "Unknown host".

Domain Name System The host's table-based approach to name resolution is convenient for reasonably small networks with few entries to include in the /etc/hosts file, provided that these networks are not connected to the Internet and have no need to run DNS services. Even if the network is not connected to the Internet, the idea of maintaining identical /etc/hosts files on all UNIX hosts is a time-demanding idea as it requires that changes made to one must be consistently implemented in all others. An approach that can easily become nightmarish as the size of the network increases.

Domain Name System (DNS, RFC 1035) is an alternative way to performing name resolution. Using DNS to resolve host names to IP addresses involves the use of a global, hierarchical and distributed database containing information (including IP addresses) about all hosts on the network as well as those on the Internet. The hierarchy allows for the subdivision of the name space into independently manageable partitions called domains (or subdomains). The distributed nature allows for the relocation of partitions (subdomains) of the database onto name servers belonging to sites around the network or the Internet. Consequently, sites hosting name services can be delegated the responsibility for managing their subdomains.

A name server is a host maintaining a partition of the DNS database and running a server process (on UNIX it is called named daemon) that handles name-to-IP address resolution in addition to providing some other pertinent host information.

TCP/IP applications have the DNS client component, known as the name resolver, built into them. In other words, no special UNIX daemon is required to support name queries on behalf of applications. Figure 20.21 shows how a name query is handled as a user enters the ftp jade.harmonics.com to start a file transfer session. Host name jade.harmonics.com is the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) by DNS naming rules, which will be shortly discussed. According to the diagram, resolver routines, included in the ftp client, package the name in a DNS query and send it to a DNS server that the host is configured to recognize. The DNS server looks up the requested information (in the case, the IP address) and sends a reply to the requesting host.

Figure 20.21.
DNS name resolution and name servers.

Logical Organization of DNS When setting up DNS, you ought to follow certain rules in organizing your domain. Understanding those rules is as important to the proper implementation of DNS as understanding the rules which govern file system organization for the effective administration of you UNIX system.

The Internet's DNS organization will be used throughout the chapter to illustrate DNS concepts. Also, a fictitious subdomain (harmonics.com) will be introduced to illustrate some of the associated concepts at this level. It is important that you keep in mind that your situation may dictate a different organization from the Internet's. The rules and concepts, however, are still the same.

DNS is a hierarchical database of host information. Its structure resembles, to a great extent, that of computer file systems. Figure 20.22 draws an analogy between the organization of DNS and that of the UNIX file system. In both cases, the organization follows that of an inverted tree with the root at the top of the structure. Where the root of the file system is written as a slash "/", that of DNS is written as a dot "." representing the null "" character. Below the root level, the upper most domain is defined and may be subdivided into domains, which can then be further divided into subdomains--similar to dividing the UNIX file system into subdivisions called directories and subdirectories. Each subdomain is assigned a name (or a label), which can be up to 63 characters long, and can be divided further into subdomains. DNS allows nesting of up to 127 domains in one tree.

Figure 20.22.
Analogy between DNS domain and UNIX file system organization.

Each domain (or subdomain) represents a partition of the database, which may contain information about hosts in that domain, and/or information about lower domains (using the file system analogy, a directory or subdirectory represents a partition of the file system where information about both files and lower subdirectories is kept).

A directory, or file, under the UNIX file system, can be referred to using relative paths or an absolute path specified relative to the root. The lib directory in Figure 20.22b can be referenced relative to its parent share directory, or relative to the root "/", to become /usr/share/lib. In a similar fashion, a domain under DNS can be referred to relative to its parent domain using its name only, or relative to the root domain.

A domain name specification relative to the root is known as fully qualified domain name (FQDN). As Figure 20.23 illustrates, an absolute file or directory name is written as a sequence of relative names from the root to the target directory, or filename. Under DNS, a fully qualified domain name is written as a sequence of labels, starting with the target domain name and ending at to the root domain. For example, ott.harmonics.com is the fully qualified domain name of the subdomain ott.

Figure 20.23.
Absolute domain naming conventions compared with UNIX file system naming convention.

To translate these into real terms, you are presented with a partial portrait of the organization of the top level of the Internet's domain. The Internet authorities have divided the root level domain into top level domains, of which only the org and com domains are shown in the diagrams. While the root level domain is served by a group of root servers, top level domains are served in their turn by their own servers with each maintaining a partition of the global database.

The harmonics domain, created under the com domain, represents further subdivision of the database. This implies that Harmonics (a fictitious institute of music, with branches in Ottawa, New York, and Paris) undertook the responsibility of maintaining and administering its own name space by setting up its own authoritative server for its domain.

As shown in Figure 20.22, files represent the leaf nodes of the file system, below which no further subdivision of the name space is possible. Hosts (jade and jade) represent the leaf nodes in the domain system, and therefore the actual resource. The type of information that the leaf node might represent is quite general. For example, a leaf node may represent the IP address of the associated host, a mail exchanger (i.e. mail router) or some domain structural information.

How does a DNS server know which type of information is being queried? Each resource record stored in the database is assigned a type. When a client sends a query to a name server it must specify which type of information is requested. To be able to telnet a host for example, the client must request that the name be resolved into an IP address of a host. However, a mail application may request that the name be resolved into the IP address of a mail exchanger.

One last rule to point out: the hierarchical structure of DNS allows two or more hosts to have the same name as long as they do not belong to the same subdomain. Similarly two files may have the same filename as long as they belong to different subdirectories.

Delegation of Administrative Authority Rather than centralizing the administration of the DNS service in the hands of a single administrative authority on the Internet, DNS's hierarchical organization allows for the breakup of this responsibility into smaller manageable parts, pertaining to the administration of smaller domains of the name space. Consequently, each of the member organizations of the Internet is delegated the authority for managing its own domain. In practical terms, this requires that each of the organizations set up its own name server(s). The name server would then maintain all the host information, and respond to name queries, pertaining to that organization.

When an organization joins the Internet, it is normally delegated the responsibility of administering its own domain name space. In Figure 20.24, the responsibility of the harmonics.com domain is delegated to Harmonics (the organization).

Figure 20.24.
Domain name space delegation.

Once delegated the administration of its own domain, an organization can in turn break up its own domain into yet smaller subdomains and delegate the responsibility of administering them to other departments. Referring to the harmonics.com domain, Harmonics set up lower-level domains reflecting their geographical organization. Instead of centralizing the administration of the entire domain in the headquarters at Ottawa, the MIS department might choose to delegate the responsibility for each subdomain to local authorities at each site.

As mentioned earlier, the delegation of parts of a subdomain to member organizations or departments in practical terms translates the relocation of parts of the DNS database pertaining to those subdomains to other name servers. Hence, instead of maintaining all the information about subdomains that are delegated to other departments, the name server(s) of a the parent domain maintains pointers to subdomain servers only. This way, when queried for information about hosts in the delegated subdomains, a domain server knows where to send the query for an answer.

Delegation of administrative authority for subdomains has the following advantages:

The Internet Top-Level Domains Many readers may have already encountered domain labels in the form of rs.internic.net, or e-mail addresses in the form of NADEEM@harmonics.com. This section attempts to familiarize you with the organization of the Internet from which those labels are derived. A kind of familiarity which is particularly important if your network is currently connected to the Internet, or if you are planning on this connection some time in the future.

The Internet DNS name space is hierarchical in organization, and follows the same rules depicted earlier. Figure 20.25 shows this hierarchical organization.

Figure 20.25.
Hierarchical organization of the Internet DNS domain name space.

As depicted in the diagram, upper levels of the Internet domain adhere to certain traditions. At the top level, the Internet started by introducing domain labels which designate organization associations. Table 20.2 provides a list of those domains and the associated affiliations.

Table 20.2. Traditional top level domains.

Top-Level Domain Associated Affiliation
com Commercial organizations
edu Educational organizations
gov U.S. government organizations
mil Military organizations
net Networking organizations
org Non-commercial organizations
int International organizations
arpa Special domain, for reverse resolution

An example of an educational organization is Purdue University, which on the Internet is known as purdue.edu, whereas ibm.com represents IBM's commercial domain.

Most of the organizations joining the top level domains are located in the U.S. This is due to the fact that the Internet started as an experiment led by a U.S. agency (ARPA), in which only U.S. organizations participated. As the Internet success and popularity crossed national boundaries to become an international data highway, the top level domains were reorganized to include domain labels corresponding to individual countries. Country domain labels followed the existing ISO 3166 standard which establishes an official, two-letter code for every country in the world. In Figure 20.25, labels such as ca and tn designate Canada and Tunisia. The U.S. also has its country domain label (us) to which organizations may choose to belong instead of belonging to any of the more traditional domains.

The arpa domain (see Table 20.2) is a very special domain used by DNS name servers to reverse resolve IP addresses into their corresponding domain names.

Domains and Zones You learned earlier that once the authority for a subdomain is delegated to an organization, that organization may subdivide its domain into lower level subdomains. Subdividing a domain should not necessarily lead to delegating every subdomain's autonomy to other member departments in the organization. So although a domain is partitioned into many lower-level domains, authority over the domain can be aligned along zone boundaries, in which case a zone may contain a subset of the domains that the parent domain contains.

Figure 20.26 illustrates the difference between a domain and a zone. As show in the figure, harmonics domain contains the ott, ny, and paris subdomains. Yet, only two zones of authority are established: the harmonics zone which includes both ott and paris subdomains, and the ny zone including to the ny domain. When setting up name servers, you will be assigning zones of authority--you will be configuring them to maintain complete information about the zone for which they are said to have authority. You can, if you wish, make a name server authoritative for more than one zone.

Figure 20.26.
Domains and zones.

Authority for the harmonics domain is reduced to two zones: the harmonics zone, which contains information about both ott and paris subdomains, and the ny zone, which contains information about the ny domain only.

Name Servers Setting up DNS services to support the domain or zone for which an organization is delegated authority involves creating a set of authoritative servers for that zone. At a minimum, two servers a primary and secondary should be setup.

The primary name server is where the database files are being maintained and is the most time consuming to setup. Changes made to the DNS whether to the layout or structure of the domain being delegated or simple updates to the database must be administered and reflected on the primary name server. For example, to add a new host to the network, you have to assign it both a name and an IP address, and you must enter those assignments in the DNS database contained on the primary server.

The secondary name server is easier to set up than the primary. It is different from the primary in that it derives its database from the primary's by virtue of replicating it through a process known as zonal transfer. Once set up, the secondary requires very little maintenance.

Every time the secondary server is rebooted, it undergoes the zonal transfer process by contacting the primary server for the zone for which they both are responsible, and requesting all the information pertaining to that zone. Thereafter, the secondary server routinely polls the primary server for any updates that might have been made to the database. As will be shown under the section "Implementing DNS," a secondary server can be easily configured to backup the zone data after transfer to disk files. This option allows the secondary server to reload its data using the backup files instead of undergoing zonal transfer every time the server is restarted--resulting in reduction in bandwidth consumption due to zonal transfers, and the better availability of data in case the secondary fails to hear for the primary when the transfer is initiated.

It is not absolutely necessary to install any other than the primary server in order to bring up the DNS service. Including a secondary server has, however, the following advantages:

Name Service Resolution Process Whenever a name server is queried by a client, it is mandatory that the server responds with a valid answer regardless of whether the query pertains to the domain for which the server is authoritative or not. Queries pertaining to other domains, on the local network, or around the Internet should be forwarded to other servers for a response. To query name servers on behalf of the client, every name server must maintain pointers (that is, entries including the IP addresses) to the root servers. Root servers in turn must maintain data about all top-level domain, and so on. The process of querying other servers on behalf of a client is commonly known as a resolution referral process.

Figure 20.27 illustrates the resolution referral process. In the diagram, a DNS server (somewhere in the Internet universe) receives a name query from a client. The query requests the IP address of host oboe.ny.harmonics.com.. Assuming that the server does not know the answer, rather than responding to the client with a negative response, it sends the query to a root server. The root server determines from the host name that it falls under the com domain. Consequently, it responds to the originating server with the address list of the com domain servers. The local server treats the response as referral to the com servers, at which point it redirects the query to one of these servers. In its turn, the com server determines that the queried object falls under the harmonics subdomain's authority and therefore refers the local server to contact the subdomain's server, which in turn finally refers it to the server of ny.harmonics.com for answer.

Figure 20.27.
Name resolution referral process.

Caching In order to save bandwidth and improve the response time it takes to answer a query, DNS defines a caching mechanism that allows name servers (of all types) to cache response data for future reference. In the example of Figure 20.27, the local name server caches the IP address-to-host name association of oboe.ny.harmonics.com after responding successfully to the client's query. This way, if queried for the same host (oboe.ny.harmonics.com), the server will be able to respond directly from its cache instead of undergoing the time consuming resolution referral process all over.

Name servers do not just cache data pertaining to the query in effect. Rather, they cache all the data they discover in the process of responding to that query. For example, the local server in Figure 20.27 would cache all the referral data that led to the response to the query pertaining to host oboe.ny.harmonics.com. The referral data includes names and IP addresses of the servers that are authoritative for the root-level, com, and harmonic domains. Caching referral data cuts on the time that the referral process takes. In the event, for example, the name server is queried for host fake.somewhere.com, it does not have to start the referral process from the root level if it already has in its cache the necessary information to go directly to a com domain server for referral; thus cutting on the number of referral steps by one in this case.

To avoid having a name server continue using cached data after it has expired (due to changes made to that data on authoritative name servers), DNS defines a time-to-live (TTL) configuration parameter for that data. After expiration of the specified TTL time, the server must discard the data in its cache and request an update from authoritative name server.

Reverse Resolution of Pointer Queries Figure 20.28 shows a partial portrait of the organization of the Internet's global DNS service. Of particular interest is the in-addr.arpa reverse resolution domain. Called as such because it is used to reverse resolve an IP address to its fully qualified domain name.

Reverse resolution is particularly useful for security. Some of the remote access services, such as rlogin and remote copy (rcp), are only accessible if the hosts from which users are attempting access are privileged to doing so. A host supporting such services normally maintains the names (not the IP addresses) of the other hosts allowed access in special files (such as $HOME/.rhosts and /etc/hosts.equiv ). Upon receiving a request for remote access service, a secure server issues a query to the name server requesting reverse resolving the address to its domain name for subsequent verification for eligibility to the service.

The in-addr.arpa domain is designed to provide an efficient mechanism for responding to queries requesting reverse resolution. As shown in Figure 20.28, in-addr.arpa is simply another domain that uses IP addresses for subdomain names. The in-addr.arpa domain itself is organized into 256 domains, one corresponding to each possible value of the first byte of the IP address. Similarly, below each of those domains, there can be up to 256 subdomains corresponding to the second byte of the IP address, and so on, until the entire address space is represented in the in-addr.arpa domain.

Figure 20.28.
Organization of the in-addr.arp domain.

Whenever an organization joins the Internet, it is delegated the responsibility to administer two or more domains. These are the official domains that it registered under. For example, in the case of Harmonics, Inc. it is the harmonics.com domain, and the in-addr.arpa domain that corresponds to the address range that it has been assigned by the appropriate Internet authority. If, for example, Harmonics Inc. was assigned the Class C pool of addresses, then it is delegated the authority for managing the 63.58.198.in-addr.arpa domain. Notice how the IP address portion of the reverse domain is spelled backwards. This is in compliance with the DNS naming rules that were discussed earlier. For example, if the IP address of oboe.ny.harmonics.com is, its in-addr.arpa domain label becomes, again in conformance with the way fully qualified domain names should be referenced.

Assuming that a host receives a remote login request from host address, the receiving host authenticates the request by sending out a query for reverse resolution (officially known as a pointer query type) to its local name server. The local name server then must find the domain names corresponding to the specified host IP address by undergoing the same resolution referral process, that was outlined earlier, starting at 198.in-addr.arpa level and moving downward the tree until it successfully reaches the domain label 2.63.58.in-addr.arpa, which is then fetched for the corresponding host domain label (oboe.ny.harmonics.com). The name is then returned to the remote access server for use in verifying access privileges.

Configuring UNIX for TCP/IP

This section is devoted to detailing the set up process from the preparation phase to the actual implementation phase. Throughout, the discussion mainly addresses the "how to" process on UNIX SVR4 hosts. Whenever necessary differences with other variants of UNIX will be highlighted.

Preparing to Set Up and Configure TCP/IP

Setting up and configuring TCP/IP on UNIX hosts is a fairly simple and straightforward matter provided that you have done a little bit of up front preparation. Most of the preparation has to do with defining the parameters that are critical to the successful completion of the task of setting up the host for connection to the common network. Following are the points to consider when undertaking such a task:

# uname -n

Bear in mind however, that the name assigned to the host during installation may not be suitable to use on the network. One obvious cause would be name collision--that is the possibility of two computers having the same name. Another reason is the potential conflict with official host naming rules that are in force in your environment. Should the requirement arise for changing the name, use the uname command with the -S option as shown here:

# uname -S newname

where newname is the new host's name.

In the case of configuring the host for supporting more than one network interface, you ought to assign it one name per interface. You cannot have the same name associated with all supported interfaces. Consequently, have all the names ready for the time of implementation.

The above completes the list of the minimal requirements for the graceful implementation of TCP/IP on UNIX hosts. There are situations where configuring hosts may require additional information. Additional information can, however, always be implemented after all the above parameters are taken care of and the network setup is verified to work satisfactorily.

TCP/IP Setup Files

Installing and configuring TCP/IP involves several files that you are required to be aware of. Each of the files depicted below takes care of a certain aspect of the TCP/IP services rendered by the UNIX host.

/etc/hosts The /etc/hosts file is where the host names to IP address associations are maintained. The following is an example of an /etc/hosts file as it is on host jade (see Figure 20.29):

# Internet host table
# IP address    hostname    aliases
#    localhost    jade    jade1            # jade's second interface    tenor              nfsserver # is my nfs server    alto        # my gateway to the internet

Figure 20.29.
Host jade connects to and routes data between two networks: and

Text following the # character is ignored, and is meant to include comments and documentation. As shown above, every file entry consists of an IP address, the corresponding hostname, and optional aliases. Three entries in this file pertaining to host jade are of particular interest:

# ftp localhost

Notice how tenor is also assigned an alias, nfsserver. An alias is just another name which you can use to refer to the same host or interface. Because tenor supports NFS services for the rest of the network, it was conveniently aliased as nfsserver. Consequently, the network administrator and users will be able to reference the host either by its name or its alias.

/etc/hosts also includes IP address to name mappings pertaining to other hosts (e.g. alto). If you do not have DNS installed on your network, the /etc/hosts file may have be updated whenever a new host is set up on the network, or an existing one is reconfigured to a different IP address.

/etc/networks The /etc/networks file is similar to the /etc/hosts file in function. Instead of host names, /etc/networks contains network names to network IP address associations. Optionally, aliases can be included. Names included in this file normally pertain to known networks which comprise the Internet. Following is an example /etc/networks file:

# Name        Network Number

att                 12
xerox-net           13
hp-internet         15
dec-internet        16
milnet              26
ucdla-net           31
nextdoor-net        198.53.237
loopback-net        127

The /etc/networks file allows you to refer to networks, local or on the Internet, by name when, for example, configuring the routing table on the host as shown here:

# route add nextdoor-net 1
add net nextdoor-net: gateway

/etc/services As discussed earlier, each of the TCP/IP application layer services, such as FTP, TELNET, and RLOGIN, are assigned port numbers at the transport layer. The /etc/services database contains the information which maps every recognized service protocol to a static port number, also known as a well known port number. An application uses a uniquely assigned port number to identify itself to the transport provider (at the host-to-host layer) and to remote peers across the network.

Following is a partial list of well recognized services as documented in RFC 1060. Every entry in this list consists of the service name and its associated port number/transport protocol provider. Some services run over both TCP and UDP (e.g. daytime service). In such a case the service is listed twice, once for TCP and once for UDP.

RFC 1060
In addition to assigned port numbers, RFC 1060 contains a complete listing of other categories of assigned numbers including (but not limited to) protocol numbers, UNIX assigned ports, and Ethernet assigned address blocks. It might prove useful to downloading and maintaining a copy of this RFC. This RFC, as well as all others referenced in the book, are available from the ds.internic.net Internet site.

/etc/services database file is created during TCP/IP installation. The only time you have to worry about it is when installing a new application/service. In this case you will have to edit the file to include an entry as directed by the application vendor. You may find the file a useful reference when troubleshooting the network.

#    assigned numbers from rfc1060

#service    port/transport
tcpmux    1/tcp
echo        7/tcp
echo        7/udp
discard    9/tcp        sink null
discard    9/udp        sink null
systat        11/tcp        users
systat        11/udp    users
daytime    13/tcp
daytime    13/udp
netstat        15/tcp
netstat        15/udp
qotd        17/tcp        quote
qotd        17/udp    quote
ftp-data    20/tcp
ftp        21/tcp
telnet        23/tcp
smtp        25/tcp        mail
time        37/tcp        timserver
time        37/udp    timserver
name        42/tcp        nameserver
name        42/udp    nameserver
whois        43/tcp        nicname        # usually to sri-nic
whois        43/udp    nicname        # usually to sri-nic
nameserver    53/udp    domain
nameserver    53/tcp        domain
apts        57/tcp                    #any private terminal service
apfs        59/tcp                    #any private file service
bootps        67/udp    bootp
bootpc        68/udp
tftp        69/udp
rje        77/tcp        netrjs            #any private rje
finger        79/tcp
link        87/tcp        ttylink
supdup    95/tcp
hostnames    101/tcp    hostname        # usually to sri-nic
sunrpc        111/udp    rpcbind
sunrpc        111/tcp    rpcbind
auth        113/tcp    authentication
sftp        115/tcp
uucp-path    117/tcp
nntp        119/tcp    usenet readnews untp # Network News Transfer
eprc        121/udp
ntp        123/tcp                # Network Time Protocol
ntp        123/udp                # Network Time Protocol
NeWS        144/tcp    news            # Window System
iso-tp0        146/tcp
iso-ip        147/tcp
bftp        152/tcp
snmp        161/udp
snmp-trap    162/udp
cmip-manage    163/tcp
cmip-agent    164/tcp
print-srv    170/tcp
# UNIX specific services
# these are NOT officially assigned
exec        512/tcp
login        513/tcp
shell        514/tcp    cmd            # no passwords used
printer        515/tcp    spooler        # line printer spooler
timed        525/udp    timeserver
courier    530/tcp    rpc            # experimental

/etc/protocols Recall that the IP header (see Figure 20.6) includes a PROTOCOL field. This field contains a number which uniquely identifies the IP protocol service user. Similar in functionality to transport port numbers, protocol numbers help IP with internally routing data to their respective user protocols. /etc/protocols is created in your system during TCP/IP installation and should require no change. An example file listing follows:

# Internet (IP) protocols
ip    0    IP    # internet protocol, pseudo protocol number
icmp    1    ICMP    # internet control message protocol
ggp    3    GGP    # gateway-gateway protocol
tcp    6    TCP    # transmission control protocol
egp    8    EGP    # exterior gateway protocol
pup    12    PUP    # PARC universal packet protocol
udp    17    UDP    # user datagram protocol
hmp    20    HMP    # host monitoring protocol
xns-idp    22    XNS-IDP    # Xerox NS IDP
rdp        27    RDP    # "reliable datagram" protocol

The /etc/protocols file is created and initialized during system installation. As an administrator, you will hardly have to change or update its contents. However you shouldn't attempt to delete this file or tamper with its contents as it is referenced by TCP/IP daemons every time the system is brought up.

/etc/ethers Unlike the files discussed above, /etc/ethers is not created by the system during TCP/IP installation. If you are planning on providing RARP or BOOTPD services, you need to create this file. RARP uses this file to map Ethernet addresses to IP addresses. An example of an /etc/ethers file follows:

# MAC to hostname mappings
# ether_mac_addr.    hostname    comments
00:00:c0:9e:41:26    violin        #strings dep't
02:60:8c:15:ad:18    bass

Rather than including IP addresses, the /etc/ethers file contains host names. Upon cross-referencing this file with /etc/hosts any MAC address can be easily mapped to its IP address. This means that unless both /etc/hosts and /etc/ethers are consistently maintained some users may end up having difficulties acquiring an IP address, and consequently connecting to the network at boot time.

/etc/netmasks The /etc/netmasks file associates network IP addresses with network addresses. You need to create and maintain this file if you are planning on subnetting your network. Here is a sample netmasks file:

#Network subnet masks
#Unless your network is subnetted, do not bother to maintain this file
#Network        subnet mask

For each network that is subnetted, a single line should exist in this file with the network number, and the network mask to use on that network. Network numbers and masks may be specified in the conventional dotted decimal notation. For example,

specifies that the Class B network should have eight bits of subnet field and eight bits of host field, in addition to the standard sixteen bits in the network field.

/etc/hosts.equiv /etc/hosts.equiv contains the names of trusted hosts. Users logging in to the system from a trusted host using any or the r-utilities (see the section "Well-known Services") are not required to supply a password, provided that they already have a valid login id in the /etc/passwd file on the target host. The following listing provides an example of /etc/hosts.equiv:

# Trusted hosts

Users on jade, tenor, alto, and soprano can log in to the system on which the listed file is maintained, without supplying a password, provided they are in the /etc/passwd database of that system.

~/.rhosts .rhosts must be created in the user's remote home directory. It allows or denies access to that specific user. In its simplest form, the ~/.rhosts file looks like the following one:

#$HOME/.rhosts file

The above entries mean that the user, in whose remote home directory .rhosts is created, can log in from jade and tenor without supplying a password.

/etc/inet Directory In this directory the configuration file inetd.conf is maintained. This file dictates the behavior of the superserver inetd daemon. The superserver daemon's responsibility is to invoke and control application protocol daemons whenever the need arises. Examples of applications daemons that are supervised and controlled the inetd daemon are the ftpd and telnetd (that is the FTP and TELNET server daemons).

Some SVR4 systems maintain the hosts, protocols, and services databases, discussed earlier, in /etc/init and maintain symbolic links to /etc/hosts, /etc/protocols, and /etc/services.

/etc/inet/inetd.conf Rather than allowing every service daemon to listen to requests on its own port, UNIX developers chose to delegate the responsibility of listening to requests on behalf of all service daemons to one server (also known as superserver) called inetd. In doing so the demand on system resources is significantly reduced. Only when the superserver detects a service request it will invoke the daemon to which the service pertains. The /etc/inet/inetd.conf configuration file allows inetd to determine, upon startup, the daemons on whose behalf to listen to service requests. Unless a service daemon is enabled through the inetd.conf file, service requests pertaining to that daemon will be discarded by the inetd daemon. More details on inetd and inetd.conf are provided later in the chapter.

Startup of TCP/IP

Different variants of UNIX have different implementations of the TCP/IP startup process and associated scripts. In particular, three implementations are presented in this section; these are:

TCP/IP Startup on SVR4 TCP/IP is started at boot time when run level 2 (multiuser run level) is entered by the /etc/init.d/inetinit script. This script sets out by configuring, linking and loading various STREAMS modules and drivers that are required for the STREAMS TCP/IP protocol stack. If STREAMS is loaded successfully, inetinit executes the /etc/confnet.d/inet/config.boot.sh to configure all of the supported network interfaces as defined in the /etc/confnet.d/inet/interface file (see note below for a sample listing of its contents). Following is a listing of the contents of inetinit script:

#      @(#)inetinit    1.4 STREAMWare TCP/IP SVR4.2  source
#ident    "@(#)cmd-inet:common/cmd/cmd-inet/etc/init.d/inetinit"

#    inet startup

export LOG PermLog

MSG1="\nTCP/IP startup was not entirely successful. Error messages in $LOG"
UPSAVE=$DATADIR/up.save     # ifconfig commands built for "up" operation

# construct the commands to set-up and take-down the protocol stack.
UP="$SLINK -v -c $NUstrcf $KLUDGE"
DOWN="$SLINK -u -c $NUstrcf $KLUDGE"

case "$1" in
    #the LOOP=up or LOOP=down portion of code is to determine
    #if we are running this 'start)' code following running
    #the 'stop)' code.  Once we've run an ifconfig lo0 {address},
    #ifconfig lo0 will not have a non-zero return code, even after
    #unlinking the transport stack.
    #So use the loopback transport UP|DOWN as a flag for the
    #boot code.
    ifout="'ifconfig lo0 2>/dev/null'"
    case X"$ifout" in
            LOOP=up ;;
        *)    LOOP=down ;;

    if [ $ifret != 0 -o $LOOP != up ]
        # the network stack is not yet up (at least there is
        # no loopback), "make" the strcf and ifconfig commands
        # (ie, iff any dependency changed).
        cmd="$DATASCRIPT up"
        echo "The following commands ran from /etc/init.d/inetinit"
        echo \
"The following commands were run by the boot time configuration
script, $DATASCRIPT, by running

        eval "$cmd"
        if [ $? -ne 0 ]

        echo "$UP"
        if    $UP
            if [ -f "$UPSAVE" ]
                # issue all the ifconfig commands
                echo "Commands from $UPSAVE:"
                cat $UPSAVE
                . $UPSAVE
            # failed to build the stream stack so try to
            # unbuild it.
            $DOWN >/dev/null 2>&1
            echo "$MSG1" >&2
            exit 1
        if [ -x /usr/eac/bin/initsock ]
    fi > $LOG 2>&1

    rm -f $LOG $PermLog

    # run startup script
    /bin/sh /etc/inet/rc.inet start
    if [ $? -ne 0 ]
    exit $exitcode


    # rc0 and rc1 take care of killing when going down to states 0,1,5,6
    set 'who -r'
    if [ "$3" = "2" -o "$3" = "3" ]
    # kill the various standalone daemons
        kill -9 '/usr/bin/ps -e \
        | /usr/bin/awk '/in\.routed/ || /in\.gated/ || /in\.xntpd/ \
        || /in\.timed/ || /in\.named/ || /in\.pppd/ || /in\.snmpd/ \
        { print $1}'' 2>/dev/null

    # bring down the protocol stack
    # use the strcf script compiled on the way up even if there
    # were changes made.  Those changes will go into effect
    # the next time it comes up.
    $IFCONFIG -a down >/dev/null 2>&1
    if [ -f $NUstrcf ]
        $DOWN >/dev/null 2>&1
    exit 0
    #the LOOP=up or LOOP=down portion of the 'start)' code is
    #checking to see if it is following the above 'stop)' code.
    #Once we've run an ifconfig lo0 {address},
    #ifconfig lo0 will not have a non-zero return code, even after
    #unlinking the transport stack.

    exit 1

NOTE: The following is an example of the contents of the /etc/confnet.d/inet/interface:


According to this listing, two network interfaces are supported. These are ne2k and el3 corresponding to the NE2000 and 3C509 network cards. The first entry (lo) pertains to the loopback interface. Each entry is made of colon delimited fields. Entries in the interface file have the following format:



prefix is used by the ifconfig or netstat commands to configure the interface, or to gather its statistics.

unit # refers to the unit number (instance number) of that interface.

addr should contain either the IP address assigned to the interface, or an existing hostname in the /etc/hosts file. If null string is included instead, as in the second entry, then null will be expanded to '/usr/bin/uname -n' and the interface will be config