Connecting to Net Access with Linux

Table of Contents

  1. List of Netaxs Services Linux Users Might Use

  2. Basic TCP/IP Network Configuration

  3. Tips on Configuring PPP

  4. Tips on Configuring SLIP

  5. Some final notes

  6. Author Information

[A Linux logo available from]

Linux is a very nice operating system that was developed cooperatively on the Internet. Since it was developed on the Net, it is not surprising that Linux and Internetworking work so well together. If you would like more basic information about Linux, check out the Linux International home page or the Linux Documentation Project's home page. I have collected these and several other good Linux references.

There are several ways in which Linux users can take advantage of Net Access's Internet services:

  1. Access a Net Access Dial-Up Unix Shell account with standard telecom software:

    There are at least three fine telecomunications programs that work under Linux (seyon, minicom, and kermit). Each of which will let you dial into your Internet account.

  2. Access a Net Access Dial-Up Unix Shell account with Term:

    Term is a program that lets you run multiple applications over a serial line. With Term you can run Netscape and other X11 client applications through your Unix shell account. To get more information about Term please see the Linux Documentation Project's Term HOWTO.

  3. Access a Net Access Dial-Up SLIP/PPP Account:

    Linux supports SLIP via the "dip" program and PPP via pppd. Theoretically CSLIP is faster than PPP. Since PPP has become such a widespread standard and is rock solid, I've been using PPP over SLIP lately. For more information on Linux networking check out the Linux Net-3 HOWTO and the Linux Network Administrator's Guide (nag)).

    See below for tips on setting up Networking for use with a Net Access SLIP/PPP account.

  4. Access the Internet full-time with a Net Access Dedicated SLIP/PPP Account:

    Linux is a great way to hook your company's LAN to the Internet. Configuration is similar to that of a dial-up SLIP/PPP account.

Basic TCP/IP Network Configuration

  1. Set your machine's hostname using the hostname command (Slackware uses /etc/HOSTNAME to initialize the hostname at boot time; Debian uses /etc/hostname). You can choose any hostname. It doesn't really matter since the Internet won't "know" your machine's name anyway.

  2. There are several ways to set up nameservice (resolving hostnames into IP addresses) under Unix. The simplest way is to set up the resolver to use Net Access' nameserver. To do this simply put the following lines into /etc/resolv.conf:

    And make sure these lines are in /etc/host.conf:
    order hosts,bind
    multi on
    nospoof on
    alert on
    Alternatively you can set up named. Here's a step-by-step (several of the filenames will differ depending on how your distribution sets up bind --- BE CAREFUL!):
    1. In /etc/resolv.conf make "nameserver" the first nameserver. If you have a forwarders line in your /etc/named.boot (as below), you can omit the other nameserver lines from /etc/resolv.conf.

    2. Most distributions have upgraded the version of bind to 8.x.x. But for historical reasons and because some people may not have upgraded older system, I include a step-by-step for both versions of bind:

        Bind 4.9.7

      1. Set up the basic config options for named in /etc/named.boot:

        ;    boot file for name server
        cache      .                    /etc/
        primary    0.0.127.IN-ADDR.ARPA /etc/named.local
      2. Set up the basic name servers in /etc/

        ;        Net Access Name Servers
        .                   99999999    IN  NS
                            99999999    IN  NS
        ;        Net Access Name Servers by address
        ;  99999999    IN  A  99999999    IN  A
      3. Finally set up the loopback address in /etc/named.local (obviously, change the username, cjf, and hostname, linux, to something more appropriate for your system):

        @       IN  SOA (
                        1                   ; serial
                        36000               ; refresh every 100 hours
                        3600                ; retry after 1 hour
                        3600000             ; expire after 1000 hours
                        36000               ; default ttl is 100 hours
                IN  NS
        1       IN  PTR localhost.
        Bind 8
      1. Set up /etc/named.conf (note: you will need to add IP addresses to the listen-on line if your box provides DNS for a local LAN):
            options { directory "/var/named";
            forward only;
            forwarders {;; };
            listen-on  {; };
            zone "localhost" { type master; file "named.local"; };
      2. Set up /var/named/named.local:
        @   IN  SOA localhost. root.localhost. (
                          1     ; Serial
                     604800     ; Refresh
                      86400     ; Retry
                    2419200     ; Expire
                     604800 )   ; Default TTL
        @   IN  NS  localhost.
        @   IN  A
  3. To access Net Access' NNTP server put the following into the file /etc/nntpserver:


Tips on Configuring PPP

  1. /etc/ppp/options should only have generic parameters in it since every user on your system will use this configuration file for both incoming and outgoing links. Probably the only parameters to set in this file would be:

    asyncmap 0
    lcp-echo-interval 30
    lcp-echo-failure 4

  2. You might want to use the Debian Project's annotated version of the /etc/ppp/options file.

  3. /usr/sbin/ppp should be mode 4754 and setgid to dip or another group with permission to access the modem.

  4. wvdial is fantastic at setting up PPP connections with the minimum of fuss. It will work on netaxs' 1-215-966-6666 hunt group. There is a bug that prevented it from working with the 1-215-966-7777 hunt group, but I've submitted a bug report and hope that it will be resolved soon. wvdial's home page has the latest scoop. Or pick up the stable Debian package or the the unstable Debian package.

  5. Here is an example dialing script for ppp (put it in your ~/bin directory and change its mode to 755 --- since switching to wvdial, I never use these scripts any more):

    #!/bin/sh -e
    MODEM="/dev/ttyS2 38400"
    /usr/sbin/pppd $MODEM defaultroute noipdefault \
       connect "/usr/sbin/chat -t 255 -v -f ~/.ppp.chatscript"


    1. You must change the parameter "/dev/ttyS2" to the device where your modem lives. "/dev/ttyS0" is COM1; "/dev/ttyS1" is COM2; "/dev/ttyS2" is COM3; and "/dev/ttyS3" is COM4.
    2. Once everything is configured correctly running this script should connect you to netaxs.
    3. Run "tail -f /var/log/messages &" (or something similar) to see the status messages (depending on the configuration in /etc/syslog.conf the messages may be saved in another file).
  6. Here is an example ~/.ppp.chatscript:

    ABORT BUSY ABORT 'NO CARRIER' '' ATZ OK ATl1m1s7=255 OK ATDP1-215-966-7777
    CONNECT \n\n '' \dppp
    name:--name:   USERNAME   ssword:   \qPASSWD


    1. Make sure you set the mode to 600, so other users on your system can't read your password!
    2. Be sure to change USERNAME and PASSWD to the correct values
    3. You may need to change the modem init string (mine sets the modem to wait for 255 secs for a "CONNECT" string).
    4. You will probably want to change the phone number to a POP local to you.
  7. Instead of these scripts, I now recommend xisp which is much easier if you are running X. It has some prerequisites. But once its running, it works great!

  8. For more information see the Linux Serial HOWTO, the PPP HOWTO, and The README for PPP (probably located in /usr/doc/ppp on your system).

Tips on Configuring SLIP

  1. Basically all you need for SLIP is a good dip(8) script.

    • I recommend my hacked version of Peter Tobias's dipconfig script (originally built for the Debian GNU/Linux Project). I have prepared this for Net Access's dynamic and static IP accounts. For the dynamic script you only need to edit which port your modem lives on and put your login name and password in the correct place. For the static script you also need your IP address AND the IP address of the terminal server you are connecting to (Net Access staff can supply these to you).

    • Vince Quaresima wrote another dip script which I hacked just a wee bit. It has excellent comments. It doesn't work for dynamic SLIP.

    • Daryl Jurbala wrote NetSLIP, a dip script for establishing a dynamic SLIP connection. If you want to look at it, don't forget to read his README.

  2. Sometimes you will need to configure the networking interface manually. Here are the steps (for SLIP connections anyway):

    1. First configure the loopback interface:

      $ ifconfig lo
      $ route add -net
    2. Make sure SLIP is in your kernel. Check /var/log/messages (or /var/adm/messages on older Slackware systems). If you don't have a kernel supporting SLIP, you might be able to load a kernel module with insmod(1).
    3. Finally, given myIP and gatewayIP (which are dynamically allocated by the annex you connect to), issue these commands:
      $ ifconfig sl0 mtu 1006 $myIP pointopoint $gatewayIP
      $ route add $gatewayIP dev sl0
      $ route add default gw $gatewayIP

Some final notes

  1. You'll probably want a good Web browser. Here are some good ones:
  2. Check out the Net Access User's Guide to see if any phone numbers or server addresses have changed since the last time this document was updated.

  3. If you need further assistance try, netaxs.linux, the Net Access Linux newsgroup.

Author Information

Contact the author at View the author's home page at and blog at

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Last updated February 23, 1999
Net Access, PO Box 502, Glenside, PA 19038
E-mail: | Voice: (215) 576-8669 | Fax: (215) 576-5820