Linux Wireless Access Point HOWTO


Chapter 3. Installing Redhat 9.0

3.1 Overview of Redhat installation process

For the purpose of this section, RedHat Linux version 9.0 has been chosen for use as the basis of a Linux Access Point. It is envisaged that NZ-Wireless will eventually replace this section with a purpose built Access Point distribution or perhaps a suitably modified commercial distribution, but in the meantime this will have to do. The choice of distribution is really down to personal preference. I have chosen Redhat for this HOWTO because it is easy for new users to get a handle on and because a suitable HOSTAP kernel is available as an RPM. If you chose to use a different distribution, you will need to know the locations and names of some files mentioned in this HOWTO on your system as they may be different to Redhat. You should be aware that some of the commands given here are also Redhat specific and you will need to know the alternatives for your distribution. You should also be aware that software download links in this HOWTO point to RH9 RPM versions which may not be compatible with your chosen distribution.

The steps below assume that the reader has not installed Linux before. It assumes that the user may wish to use the system as a Server or as a Desktop in addition to an Access Point. It also assumes that the user has no data on the system that is to be preserved. The following is a step-by-step guide lacking a lot of detail. If you're comfortable installing Linux or have specific reaquirements in mind, you can safely skip this section.

The end result of this initial Redhat install will be a Linux box running X and GNOME that can be used for multiple purposes but is not optimised for any single purpose. It will use approximately 1.2GB of disk space. For a more in-depth guide to installing RedHat version 9.0 refer to Redhat's installation guide

3.2 Step by Step guide to installing Redhat

Screen 1 If you have booted your system with the Redhat installation media or are installing by NFS you will see the Redhat welcome screen. Press enter for install in graphical mode.

Screen 2 Press next

Screen 3 Select English

Screen 4 Keyboard type. Choose US International

Screen 5 Mouse type. Select your mouse type here and, if you are going to use this system as a desktop, enable the emulate 3 buttons check box.

Screen 6 Installation type. Choose Custom

Screen 7 Disk Partitioning. Choose Manually with Disk Druid

Screen 8 Disk Setup. Delete all existing partitions (WARNING: ALL Data currently on the disk is erased!) Depending on your needs, create new partitions. I go for simplicity, creating two partitions, one for use as swap which I make twice as large as the amount of physical RAM and one for all other data, called a root partition. Here's how;

Select new then enter the following into the pop-up box;
file system type swap
size (2x RAM) e.g. 64
then OK

Select new
enter the following into the pop-up box;
Mount Point /
File system type EXT3
and click the Fill to maximum allowable size checkbox
then click OK

You should now have two visible partitions, called /dev/hda1 and /dev/hda2 underneath the /dev/hda entry. One will be type EXT3 and one will be type swap.
At this stage we have finished configuring partitions. Click next to go to the next screen.

Screen 9 Boot Loader. Grub is the preferred boot loader and the default options are suitable, so nothing needs to be changed here. Click next.

Screen 10 Network configuration. You will see a list of your network interfaces (such as eth0). Configure each one to suit your own physical network requirements, with reference to the information you gathered in chapter 2.

I don't use DHCP for wired machines so I select to configure manually and enter the IP information in the box provided.

Note that your wireless card probably has not been detected by this stage. Don't worry we'll configure it later.

Screen 11 Firewall configuration. If you intend to run NoCat your entries here will be superseded by the NoCat configuration process. For the purpose of the initail configuration, select Medium security level and ETH0 as a trusted device. Allow Incoming ssh.

Screen 12 Additional Language Support. Check English (NZ) and uncheck English (USA)

Screen 13 Timezone. Click on the map of New Zealand to set the timezone.

Screen 14 Root password. This screen is where we set the password for the super-user.Create a root password that you will remember. Click OK then Next

Screen 15 Authentication Configuration. The default settings don't need to be changed. Click Next.

Screen 16 Package selection. The packages you chose here will depend on what you want to do with your system, so the recommendations I make below are guidelines. Anything that you omit here but need later can be installed at a later stage. Here it is section by section;

In Editors Emacs can be removed and vim-enhanced can be added

In Graphical Internet evolution, gaim, mozilla-mail, pan and xchat can be removed.

In Office/Productivity mrproject and openoffice can be removed.

In Sound and Video Any selected packages in this section can be removed.

In Graphics gimp, gimp-data-extras, gtkam, sane-frontends, xsane and xsane-gimp can be removed.

In Server Configuration Tools select all of the GUI configuration tools you require for the various services you intend to have on the box. You may find redhat-config-bind, redhat-config-httpd, redhat-config-network and redhat-config-services useful.

In Web server select all that are applicable for your situation if you intend to use this system as a web server in addition to an Access Point. For use with NoCat you will need mod_perl and mod_ssl

In DNS Name Server select caching-nameserver. We will modify it in chapter 6 for our use.

In Network Servers Select all of the services you wish to run. For our Access Point we need ZEBRA (configured in chapter 7) and DHCP (configured in chapter 5.) cipe, pxe, rsh-server, talk-server, telnet-server and ypserv can be removed.

In Administration Tools select all of the GUI config tools that you think you require. They are safe to install even if you don't end up using them.

In System Tools amanda, ethereal, ethereal-gnome, nmap and nmap-front-end are useful and can be installed and we will use shapecfg in appendix C for configuring bandwidth management.

Click next to being the actual RedHat installation. The install process will begin by formatting the new partitions and installing the various packages required for a functioning Linux system. The installation should take approximately 25 minutes. At the end of this process, configure the X display system for your hardware if required. It is a good idea to turn off Graphical login type at this point. You will be presented with the option to create a bootdisk once the install is complete. It is a good idea to do so.

3.3 Turning off unnecessary services

Phew! we're almost through this ugly section. One last job remains; after you have logged into your system and are satisfied that it is working correctly, we'll turn off some of the plethora of services that Redhat has enabled. Some of these services we will enable later but in the mean time they are using system resources unnecessarily and taking time to load when the system boots, both of which are inconvenient while we are building and testing our new system.

You can manually turn off services by re-naming files in the /etc/rc.d/ heirarchy, but Redhat has a menu driven system called simply setup that is easier to use. Access it with this command;

[root@accesspoint root]# setup

A menu will come up. Scroll down to System services and press enter to select it. You will see a list of services, those with an asterix are enabled. Disable the following services by high-lighting the asterix and pressing the space bar.

anacron Scheduling daemon
apmd Power management daemon
atd Scehduling daemon
autofs Automounting of remote filesystems
cups Unix print daemon
gpm Console mouse support daemon
isdn isdn
iptables Firewalling
kudzu Hardware maintenance daemon
netfs Remote file system mounter daemon
nfslock Network File System daemon
pcmcia PCMCIA monitor daemon
portmap RPC control daemon
rhnsd Redhat update daemon
sendmail Mail server daemon
xinetd TCP/IP services super-daemon

This leaves us with only these services enabled; crond, keytable, network, random, rawdevices, sgi_fam, sshd, syslog and xfs which will make the system more responsive. Note that xfs, the X font server, can be disabled as well if you have no intention of running X.

3.4 Reboot and test

You may like to reboot your system now to make sure that it comes back up OK. Reboot with this command;

[root@accesspoint root]# shutdown -r now

Once your system comes back up and you're satisfied that it is functioning nominally, move on to the next section, installing the HOSTAP driver.

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