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Lesson 6 Loading multiple network interface-card modules
Objective Load correct NIC modules into the kernel

Loading multiple Network Interface-card Modules

Load correct NIC modules into the kernel

Load the correct NIC modules into the kernel to enable multiple network interface cards.
To enable multiple network cards, execute the following steps:
  1. First, physically install the cards into the computers
  2. Next, insert the appropriate module into the kernel to make the kernel aware of your new hardware
  3. Finally, configure the card using the Network Configurator

Loading ISA networking interface card modules into the kernel

At boot time, the Linux kernel loads the modules specified in /etc/conf.modules. If your network card is PCI, then the kernel's PCI drivers will detect the card automatically and load the appropriate module for you. However, if your network card is ISA, then you must manually specify its type and load it.
Let's assume you just installed a new ISA network card. To list the networking modules available for loading into the kernel, use:

ls /lib/modules/`uname -r`/net
The `uname -r` command returns the currently running kernel's version.
uname Linux

Loading Network Interface Cards
In the /etc/conf.modules file, you alias the card type, which is the module's name without the "o", to a particular network device.
For example, a Linux computer with two 3c509 ISA network cards would include the following in /etc/conf.modules:
Linux Alias
With the configuration file in order, use modprobe eth0 to load the module for the first Ethernet card. Repeat the modprobe command for every Ethernet card, replacing eth0 with the appropriate device name.
More information about loading Network Interface Cards, especially regarding older card drivers that may require a separate module load for each card, is included in the LDP's Ethernet-HOWTO, available from the Resources page.

Testing the installation of network interface cards

If the module loaded successfully, a message will be printed into the kernel's internal log. To verify the module loaded correctly, use dmesg | grep eth, which prints all lines relating to Ethernet devices.
Use dmesg whenever you need to look at recent, important kernel activity.
The next lesson discusses how to use the Network Configurator tool to enable multiple network interface cards.