Thanks. during installation I did get the message about needing an internet connnection, and wasn't sure how to proceed. The network card was not connected during installation. When prompted for dhcp configuration I entered the ip address and gateway manually.
On reboot the eth0 interface reported the ip address I had entered, and I can ping the new machine from my laptop on the same internal network.
The machine currently has an empty (wiped) hard drive - no os or preexisting setup. Does the install process itself configure a network card and tcp-ip to enable a network/internet connection? if not, how will I be able to create the connection so the installer can find the config when it needs the activation codes?