Network management

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This article describes possibilities for managing the network stack. Gentoo provides several tools for bringing up networking interfaces and managing network connections. In addition, Gentoo provides tools for managing dialup modem connections and for managing wifi connections and network authentication.

Overview

If you boot a Linux kernel all network interfaces are down. Something is needed to automatically bring them up, set static addresses, obtain dhcp leases on dynamic addresses, configure routes, DNS et cetera. Broadly speaking, we call this network management and netifrc or NetworkManager is used for this, or in simple situations dhcpcd can be used. In addition, specific tools are used for network authentication, ppp connections, vpn connections and for dhcp leases also the dedicated dhcpcd client can be used.

Gentoo's standard for network management is using netifrc (the net.* scripts described in the Gentoo Handbook). Alternatively, dhcpcd can be used in this role. Also work is ongoing to provide a new networking stack as part of OpenRC. If you only use static interfaces, you can already try this out by emerging OpenRC with the newnet use flag and configuring /etc/conf.d/network and /etc/conf.d/staticroute.[1]

FILE /etc/portage/package.useDisabling netifrc and newnet
sys-apps/openrc -netifrc -newnet

Comparison of provided functionality

Gentoo provides several tools for managing your network stack. Some perform overall management, while others mainly perform specific subfunctions, but may also perform overall management.

Software Manage interfaces IP layer Including static addresses, routes, DNS DHCP WPA Wireless network authentication 802.1X Wired network authentication PPP GUI
Network management
Netifrc Yes Yes Yes No No No No Can use gui of wpa_supplicant
DHCPCD Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes See dhcpcd-ui article
NetworkManager Yes Yes Yes As of version 1.20 No No No Yes
Network authentication
wpa_supplicant Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes qt5 use flag provides wpa_gui
iwd Yes No Yes As of version 0.19 Yes No No No
Point-to-point protocol (PPP)
net-dialup/wvdial No No No No No Yes No
net-dialup/rp-pppoe No No No No No Yes No
net-dialup/ppp No No No No No Yes No

Comparison of network managers

There are different solutions for overall management of network connections. The differences between them are as such:

Software Ethernet Wifi DSL Modem WiMAX 3G VPN GUI Boot time
Netifrc Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Can use gui of wpa_supplicant Yes
DHCPCD Yes Yes No No No No No Yes See dhcpcd-ui article Yes
NetworkManager Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ConnMan ConnMan is a command-line network manager designed for use with embedded devices, see also [1] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
OpenRC The <var>newnet</var> USE flag enables OpenRC's new network stack (experimental)] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

See also

References