10.3. Establishing Connections

10.3.1. Establishing a Wired (Ethernet) Connection

To establish a wired network connection, Right-click on the NetworkManager applet to open its context menu, ensure that the Enable Networking box is checked, then click on Edit Connections. This opens the Network Connections window. Note that this window can also be opened by running, as a normal user:
~]$ nm-connection-editor &
You can click on the arrow head to reveal and hide the list of connections as needed.

Figure 10.6. The Network Connections window showing the newly created System eth0 connection

The system startup scripts create and configure a single wired connection called System eth0 by default on all systems. Although you can edit System eth0, creating a new wired connection for your custom settings is recommended. You can create a new wired connection by clicking the Add button, selecting the Wired entry from the list that appears and then clicking the Create button.

Figure 10.7. Selecting a new connection type from the "Choose a Connection Type" list

The dialog for adding and editing connections is the same

When you add a new connection by clicking the Add button, a list of connection types appears. Once you have made a selection and clicked on the Create button, NetworkManager creates a new configuration file for that connection and then opens the same dialog that is used for editing an existing connection. There is no difference between these dialogs. In effect, you are always editing a connection; the difference only lies in whether that connection previously existed or was just created by NetworkManager when you clicked Create.

Figure 10.8.  Editing the newly created Wired connection System eth0

Configuring the Connection Name, Auto-Connect Behavior, and Availability Settings

Three settings in the Editing dialog are common to all connection types:
  • Connection name — Enter a descriptive name for your network connection. This name will be used to list this connection in the Wired section of the Network Connections window.
  • Connect automatically — Check this box if you want NetworkManager to auto-connect to this connection when it is available. See Section 10.2.3, “Connecting to a Network Automatically” for more information.
  • Available to all users — Check this box to create a connection available to all users on the system. Changing this setting may require root privileges. See Section 10.2.4, “User and System Connections” for details.

Configuring the Wired Tab

The final three configurable settings are located within the Wired tab itself: the first is a text-entry field where you can specify a MAC (Media Access Control) address, and the second allows you to specify a cloned MAC address, and third allows you to specify the MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) value. Normally, you can leave the MAC address field blank and the MTU set to automatic. These defaults will suffice unless you are associating a wired connection with a second or specific NIC, or performing advanced networking. In such cases, see the following descriptions:
MAC Address
Network hardware such as a Network Interface Card (NIC) has a unique MAC address (Media Access Control; also known as a hardware address) that identifies it to the system. Running the ip addr command will show the MAC address associated with each interface. For example, in the following ip addr output, the MAC address for the eth0 interface (which is 52:54:00:26:9e:f1) immediately follows the link/ether keyword:
~]# ip addr
1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 16436 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN
    link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
    inet 127.0.0.1/8 scope host lo
    inet6 ::1/128 scope host
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
2: eth0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN qlen 1000
    link/ether 52:54:00:26:9e:f1 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet 192.168.122.251/24 brd 192.168.122.255 scope global eth0
    inet6 fe80::5054:ff:fe26:9ef1/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
A single system can have one or more NICs installed on it. The MAC address field therefore allows you to associate a specific NIC with a specific connection (or connections). As mentioned, you can determine the MAC address using the ip addr command, and then copy and paste that value into the MAC address text-entry field.
The cloned MAC address field is mostly for use in such situations were a network service has been restricted to a specific MAC address and you need to emulate that MAC address.
MTU
The MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) value represents the size in bytes of the largest packet that the connection will use to transmit. This value defaults to 1500 when using IPv4, or a variable number 1280 or higher for IPv6, and does not generally need to be specified or changed.

Saving Your New (or Modified) Connection and Making Further Configurations

Once you have finished editing your wired connection, click the Apply button and NetworkManager will immediately save your customized configuration. Given a correct configuration, you can connect to your new or customized connection by selecting it from the NetworkManager Notification Area applet. See Section 10.2.1, “Connecting to a Network” for information on using your new or altered connection.
You can further configure an existing connection by selecting it in the Network Connections window and clicking Edit to return to the Editing dialog.
Then, to configure: