IFCONFIG(8) Linux Programmer's Manual IFCONFIG(8)
ifconfig - configure a network interface
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 debug-
ging or when system tuning is needed.
If no arguments are given, ifconfig displays the status of the currently active inter-
faces. If a single interface argument is given, it displays the status of the given
interface only; if a single -a argument is given, it displays the status of all inter-
faces, even those that are down. Otherwise, it configures an interface.
If the first argument after the interface name is recognized as the name of a supported
address family, that address family is used for decoding and displaying all protocol
addresses. Currently supported address families include inet (TCP/IP, default), inet6
(IPv6), ax25 (AMPR Packet Radio), ddp (Appletalk Phase 2), ipx (Novell IPX) and netrom
(AMPR Packet radio).
-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
The name of the interface. This is usually a driver name followed by a unit num-
ber, for example eth0 for the first Ethernet interface. If your kernel supports
alias interfaces, you can specify them with eth0:0 for the first alias of eth0. You
can use them to assign a second address. To delete an alias interface use ifconfig
eth0:0 down. Note: for every scope (i.e. same net with address/netmask combina-
tion) all aliases are deleted, if you delete the first (primary).
up This flag causes the interface to be activated. It is implicitly specified if an
address is assigned to the interface.
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.
Enable or disable the promiscuous mode of the interface. If selected, all packets
on the network will be received by the interface.
Enable or disable all-multicast mode. If selected, all multicast packets on the
network will be received by the interface.
This parameter sets the interface metric.
mtu N This parameter sets the Maximum Transfer Unit (MTU) of an interface.
Set the remote IP address for a point-to-point link (such as PPP). This keyword is
now obsolete; use the pointopoint keyword instead.
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 an IPv6 address to an interface.
Remove an IPv6 address from an interface.
Create a new SIT (IPv6-in-IPv4) device, tunnelling to the given destination.
Set the interrupt line used by this device. Not all devices can dynamically change
their IRQ setting.
Set the start address in I/O space for this device.
Set the start address for shared memory used by this device. Only a few devices
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 Ether-
net), 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
If the address argument is given, set the protocol broadcast address for this
interface. Otherwise, set (or clear) the IFF_BROADCAST flag for the interface.
This keyword enables the point-to-point mode of an interface, meaning that it is a
direct link between two machines with nobody 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 include ether (Ethernet), ax25 (AMPR AX.25), ARCnet and netrom (AMPR
Set the multicast flag on the interface. This should not normally be needed as the
drivers set the flag correctly themselves.
The IP address to be assigned to this interface.
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 latency (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 address 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 ipchains(8) or iptables(8) command.
Interrupt problems with Ethernet device drivers fail with EAGAIN (SIOCSIIFLAGS: Resource
temporarily unavailable) it is most likely a interrupt conflict. See
http://www.scyld.com/expert/irq-conflict.html for more information.
While appletalk DDP and IPX addresses will be displayed they cannot be altered by this
route(8), netstat(8), arp(8), rarp(8), ipchains(8), iptables(8), ifup(8), interfaces(5).
http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html - Prefixes for binary multiples
Fred N. van Kempen, <email@example.com>
Alan Cox, <Alan.Cox@linux.org>
Phil Blundell, <Philip.Blundell@pobox.com>
Bernd Eckenfels, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
net-tools 2007-12-02 IFCONFIG(8)