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Church Of The
Swimming Elephant

Linux & Bell Atlantic (Verizon) DSL
PPPoE for Linux
By John Holstein, Cotse Helpdesk Coordinator


For those unintiated, getting Linux to work over a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) where the ISP, such as Bell Atlantic (Verizon) and others use Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet "PPPoE", times can get real tough, real fast.

You read "How to network linux" and you are left frustrated with your DSL account. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, bumper-sticker, and frisbee. The problem doesn't lay with your mini-network. Sure you can get two boxes to communicate rather easily. However, getting them to connected through your DSL Line and onto the "Information Superhighway" is something totally different.

When refering to "PPPoE", thats exactly what I mean. If you've never heard the term, or (and I quote the people at Roaring Penguin) "....check whether or not you really need it. If your ISP uses PPPoE, but has given you a router, you may not need a PPPoE client on your Linux box. DHCP may work fine. However, if you have a DSL modem and your provider uses PPPoE, you need a PPPoE client." Ok, simple enough. Router vs. Modem; need vs. don't need.

If you are using PPPoE to access Bell Atlantic (Verizon) or other DSL services, for Bell Atlantic and Windows, an easy way to tell is if you are using "WinPoet" which is a PPPoE client. If you are planning to run Linux on your DSL connection, then this paper is for you. If you are using standard DHCP, you need to look elsewhere (coming soon) for more documentation on how to setup your Linux Box.

This paper is based on the Linux RedHat 7.0 distribution. I don't know if it works on others, although a friend is having a bit of trouble on a Mandrake Box. If you have an update, or get this to work on other distro's, feel free to email me so I can inform others of your success.


To use the PPPoE client, you need:

  • A Linux system with a 2.0- or 2.2-series kernel.
  • Kernel support for "packet sockets". All standard distribution kernels include this.
  • The pppd daemon, version 2.3.7 or later. If you are using demand-dialing, you need version 2.3.10 or later.
  • A working Ethernet card.
  • ADSL service and an ADSL modem.

    * Bell Atlantic Requires you to "Sign Up" online, whether you will be "billing to your home phone line" or via Credit Card. This may hinder your efforts if you DO NOT ALREADY have DSL service, as the sign-up page is included in the BANet DSL Software Package that doesn't support Linux.

    * You should also have the ability to understand "command line basics" in Linux and be able to use a Command Console to perform various tasks such as compiling the source, or even easier, using "rpm" to unpackage and install the program. If you don't understand how to use the command console in Linux, please try to find more information before continuing. Basic skills include: directory navigation, changing directories (up and down), the basics of "rpm", using a console to start - stop a program.

    Continue to Page 2

    Problems? Questions? Bugs? Email me.

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