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, tools are available for managing dial up modem connections and for managing WiFi connections and network authentication.


After booting a Linux kernel, by default, all network interfaces are down, so something extra will be needed to be done to automatically bring them up, set static addresses, obtain DHCP leases on dynamic addresses, configure routes, DNS etc. These are the processes covered by the term "network management". netifrc or NetworkManager is usually used for this on Gentoo, or in simple situations just installing dhcpcd will suffice.

Other specific tools are used for network authentication, PPP connections, VPN connections etc.

Network management is often accomplished in Gentoo using netifrc (the net.* scripts described in the Gentoo Handbook). Also work is ongoing to provide a new networking stack as part of OpenRC. When using only static interfaces, it is possible to 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 the network stack. Some perform overall management, while others mainly perform specific sub functions, 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 No This turned out to be a busybox dependency. Netifrc now supports net-misc/dhcpcd, net-misc/dhcp, and sys-apps/busybox. 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 Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Yes A fatal error occurred in the #info parser function Yes

See also