configure a network interface


View network settings of an ethernet adapter

$ ifconfig eth0

Display details of all interfaces, including disabled interfaces

$ ifconfig -a

Disable eth0 interface

$ ifconfig eth0 down

Enable eth0 interface

$ ifconfig eth0 up

Assign IP address to eth0 interface

$ ifconfig eth0 [ip_address]


ifconfig [-v] [-a] [-s] [interface] ifconfig [-v] interface [aftype] options | address ...


Ifconfig is used to configure the kernel-resident network interfaces. It is used at boot time to set up interfaces as necessary. After that, it is usually only needed when debugging or when system tuning is needed. If no arguments are given, ifconfig displays the status of the cur‐ rently active interfaces. If a single interface argument is given, it displays the status of the given interface only; if a single -a argu‐ ment is given, it displays the status of all interfaces, even those that are down. Otherwise, it configures an interface.

Address Families

If the first argument after the interface name is recognized as the name of a supported address family, that address family is used for de‐ coding and displaying all protocol addresses. Currently supported ad‐ dress families include inet (TCP/IP, default), inet6 (IPv6), ax25 (AMPR Packet Radio), ddp (Appletalk Phase 2), ipx (Novell IPX) and netrom (AMPR Packet radio). All numbers supplied as parts in IPv4 dotted dec‐ imal notation may be decimal, octal, or hexadecimal, as specified in the ISO C standard (that is, a leading 0x or 0X implies hexadecimal; otherwise, a leading '0' implies octal; otherwise, the number is inter‐ preted as decimal). Use of hexadecimal and octal numbers is not RFC- compliant and therefore its use is discouraged.


-a display all interfaces which are currently available, even if down -s display a short list (like netstat -i) -v be more verbose for some error conditions interface The name of the interface. This is usually a driver name fol‐ lowed by a unit number, for example eth0 for the first Ethernet interface. If your kernel supports alias interfaces, you can specify them with syntax like eth0:0 for the first alias of eth0. You can use them to assign more addresses. To delete an alias interface use ifconfig eth0:0 down. Note: for every scope (i.e. same net with address/netmask combination) all aliases are deleted, if you delete the first (primary). up This flag causes the interface to be activated. It is implic‐ itly specified if an address is assigned to the interface; you can suppress this behavior when using an alias interface by ap‐ pending an - to the alias (e.g. eth0:0-). It is also sup‐ pressed when using the IPv4 address as the kernel will use this to implicitly delete alias interfaces. down This flag causes the driver for this interface to be shut down. [-]arp Enable or disable the use of the ARP protocol on this interface. [-]promisc Enable or disable the promiscuous mode of the interface. If se‐ lected, all packets on the network will be received by the in‐ terface. [-]allmulti Enable or disable all-multicast mode. If selected, all multi‐ cast packets on the network will be received by the interface. mtu N This parameter sets the Maximum Transfer Unit (MTU) of an inter‐ face. dstaddr addr Set the remote IP address for a point-to-point link (such as PPP). This keyword is now obsolete; use the pointopoint keyword instead. netmask addr Set the IP network mask for this interface. This value defaults to the usual class A, B or C network mask (as derived from the interface IP address), but it can be set to any value. add addr/prefixlen Add an IPv6 address to an interface. del addr/prefixlen Remove an IPv6 address from an interface. tunnel ::aa.bb.cc.dd Create a new SIT (IPv6-in-IPv4) device, tunnelling to the given destination. irq addr Set the interrupt line used by this device. Not all devices can dynamically change their IRQ setting. io_addr addr Set the start address in I/O space for this device. mem_start addr Set the start address for shared memory used by this device. Only a few devices need this. media type Set the physical port or medium type to be used by the device. Not all devices can change this setting, and those that can vary in what values they support. Typical values for type are 10base2 (thin Ethernet), 10baseT (twisted-pair 10Mbps Ethernet), AUI (external transceiver) and so on. The special medium type of auto can be used to tell the driver to auto-sense the media. Again, not all drivers can do this. [-]broadcast [addr] If the address argument is given, set the protocol broadcast ad‐ dress for this interface. Otherwise, set (or clear) the IFF_BROADCAST flag for the interface. [-]pointopoint [addr] This keyword enables the point-to-point mode of an interface, meaning that it is a direct link between two machines with no‐ body else listening on it. If the address argument is also given, set the protocol address of the other side of the link, just like the obsolete dstaddr keyword does. Otherwise, set or clear the IFF_POINTOPOINT flag for the interface. hw class address Set the hardware address of this interface, if the device driver supports this operation. The keyword must be followed by the name of the hardware class and the printable ASCII equivalent of the hardware address. Hardware classes currently supported in‐ clude ether (Ethernet), ax25 (AMPR AX.25), ARCnet and netrom (AMPR NET/ROM). multicast Set the multicast flag on the interface. This should not nor‐ mally be needed as the drivers set the flag correctly them‐ selves. address The IP address to be assigned to this interface. txqueuelen length Set the length of the transmit queue of the device. It is useful to set this to small values for slower devices with a high la‐ tency (modem links, ISDN) to prevent fast bulk transfers from disturbing interactive traffic like telnet too much.


Since kernel release 2.2 there are no explicit interface statistics for alias interfaces anymore. The statistics printed for the original ad‐ dress are shared with all alias addresses on the same device. If you want per-address statistics you should add explicit accounting rules for the address using the iptables(8) command. Since net-tools 1.60-4 ifconfig is printing byte counters and human readable counters with IEC 60027-2 units. So 1 KiB are 2^10 byte. Note, the numbers are truncated to one decimal (which can by quite a large error if you consider 0.1 PiB is 112.589.990.684.262 bytes :) Interrupt problems with Ethernet device drivers fail with EAGAIN (SIOC‐ SIIFLAGS: Resource temporarily unavailable) it is most likely a inter‐ rupt conflict. See http://www.scyld.com/expert/irq-conflict.html for more information.


/proc/net/dev /proc/net/if_inet6


Ifconfig uses the ioctl access method to get the full address informa‐ tion, which limits hardware addresses to 8 bytes. Because Infiniband hardware address has 20 bytes, only the first 8 bytes are displayed correctly. Please use ip link command from iproute2 package to display link layer informations including the hardware address. While appletalk DDP and IPX addresses will be displayed they cannot be altered by this command.


Fred N. van Kempen, Alan Cox, Phil Blundell, Andi Kleen Bernd Eckenfels,


route(8), netstat(8), arp(8), rarp(8), iptables(8), ifup(8), inter‐ faces(5). http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html - Prefixes for binary multiples

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