What is TCP/IP Configuration ?

TCP/IP Configuration

The TCP/IP protocol configuration consists of several elements which must be set by editing the appropriate configuration files, or deploying solutions such as the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server which in turn, can be configured to provide the proper TCP/IP configuration settings to network clients automatically. These configuration values must be set correctly in order to facilitate the proper network operation of your Ubuntu system.
The common configuration elements of TCP/IP and their purposes are as follows:
  • IP address The IP address is a unique identifying string expressed as four decimal numbers ranging from zero (0) to two-hundred and fifty-five (255), separated by periods, with each of the four numbers representing eight (8) bits of the address for a total length of thirty-two (32) bits for the whole address. This format is called dotted quad notation.

  • Netmask The Subnet Mask (or simply, netmask) is a local bit mask, or set of flags which separate the portions of an IP address significant to the network from the bits significant to the subnetwork. For example, in a Class C network, the standard netmask is 255.255.255.0 which masks the first three bytes of the IP address and allows the last byte of the IP address to remain available for specifying hosts on the subnetwork.

  • Network Address The Network Address represents the bytes comprising the network portion of an IP address. For example, the host 12.128.1.2 in a Class A network would use 12.0.0.0 as the network address, where twelve (12) represents the first byte of the IP address, (the network part) and zeroes (0) in all of the remaining three bytes to represent the potential host values. A network host using the private IP address 192.168.1.100 would in turn use a Network Address of 192.168.1.0, which specifies the first three bytes of the Class C 192.168.1 network and a zero (0) for all the possible hosts on the network.

  • Broadcast Address The Broadcast Address is an IP address which allows network data to be sent simultaneously to all hosts on a given subnetwork rather than specifying a particular host. The standard general broadcast address for IP networks is 255.255.255.255, but this broadcast address cannot be used to send a broadcast message to every host on the Internet because routers block it. A more appropriate broadcast address is set to match a specific subnetwork. For example, on the private Class C IP network, 192.168.1.0, the broadcast address is 192.168.1.255. Broadcast messages are typically produced by network protocols such as the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) and the Routing Information Protocol (RIP).

  • Gateway Address A Gateway Address is the IP address through which a particular network, or host on a network, may be reached. If one network host wishes to communicate with another network host, and that host is not located on the same network, then a gateway must be used. In many cases, the Gateway Address will be that of a router on the same network, which will in turn pass traffic on to other networks or hosts, such as Internet hosts. The value of the Gateway Address setting must be correct, or your system will not be able to reach any hosts beyond those on the same network. 

  • Nameserver Address Nameserver Addresses represent the IP addresses of Domain Name Service (DNS) systems, which resolve network hostnames into IP addresses. There are three levels of Nameserver Addresses, which may be specified in order of precedence: The Primary Nameserver, the Secondary Nameserver, and the Tertiary Nameserver. In order for your system to be able to resolve network hostnames into their corresponding IP addresses, you must specify valid Nameserver Addresses which you are authorized to use in your system's TCP/IP configuration. In many cases these addresses can and will be provided by your network service provider, but many free and publicly accessible nameservers are available for use, such as the Level3 (Verizon) servers with IP addresses from 4.2.2.1 to 4.2.2.6. 

    The IP address, Netmask, Network Address, Broadcast Address, Gateway Address, and Nameserver Addresses are typically specified via the appropriate directives in the file /etc/network/interfaces. For more information, view the system manual page for interfaces, with the following command typed at a terminal prompt:
    Access the system manual page for interfaces with the following command: