IF_BRIDGE(4) BSD Kernel Interfaces Manual IF_BRIDGE(4)
if_bridge -- network bridge device
To compile this driver into the kernel, place the following line in your kernel configuration file:
Alternatively, to load the driver as a module at boot time, place the following lines in loader.conf(5):
The if_bridge driver creates a logical link between two or more IEEE 802 networks that use the same (or ``similar enough'') framing format.
For example, it is possible to bridge Ethernet and 802.11 networks together, but it is not possible to bridge Ethernet and Token Ring
Each if_bridge interface is created at runtime using interface cloning. This is most easily done with the ifconfig(8) create command or
using the cloned_interfaces variable in rc.conf(5).
The if_bridge interface randomly chooses a link (MAC) address in the range reserved for locally administered addresses when it is created.
This address is guaranteed to be unique only across all if_bridge interfaces on the local machine. Thus you can theoretically have two
bridges on the different machines with the same link addresses. The address can be changed by assigning the desired link address using
If sysctl(8) node net.link.bridge.inherit_mac has non-zero value, newly created bridge will inherit MAC address from its first member instead
of choosing random link-level address. This will provide more predictable bridge MAC without any additional configuration, but currently
this feature is known to break some L2 protocols, for example PPPoE that is provided by ng_pppoe(4) and ppp(8). Now this feature is consid-
ered as experimental and is turned off by-default.
A bridge can be used to provide several services, such as a simple 802.11-to-Ethernet bridge for wireless hosts, and traffic isolation.
A bridge works like a switch, forwarding traffic from one interface to another. Multicast and broadcast packets are always forwarded to all
interfaces that are part of the bridge. For unicast traffic, the bridge learns which MAC addresses are associated with which interfaces and
will forward the traffic selectively.
All the bridged member interfaces need to be up in order to pass network traffic. These can be enabled using ifconfig(8) or
ifconfig_<interface>="up" in rc.conf(5).
The MTU of the first member interface to be added is used as the bridge MTU. All additional members are required to have exactly the same
The TXCSUM capability is disabled for any interface added to the bridge, and it is restored when the interface is removed again.
The bridge supports ``monitor mode'', where the packets are discarded after bpf(4) processing, and are not processed or forwarded further.
This can be used to multiplex the input of two or more interfaces into a single bpf(4) stream. This is useful for reconstructing the traffic
for network taps that transmit the RX/TX signals out through two separate interfaces.
The if_bridge driver implements the Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP or 802.1w) with backwards compatibility with the legacy Spanning Tree
Protocol (STP). Spanning Tree is used to detect and remove loops in a network topology.
RSTP provides faster spanning tree convergence than legacy STP, the protocol will exchange information with neighbouring switches to quickly
transition to forwarding without creating loops.
The code will default to RSTP mode but will downgrade any port connected to a legacy STP network so is fully backward compatible. A bridge
can be forced to operate in STP mode without rapid state transitions via the proto command in ifconfig(8).
The bridge can log STP port changes to syslog(3) by enabling the net.link.bridge.log_stp variable using sysctl(8).
Packet filtering can be used with any firewall package that hooks in via the pfil(9) framework. When filtering is enabled, bridged packets
will pass through the filter inbound on the originating interface, on the bridge interface and outbound on the appropriate interfaces.
Either stage can be disabled. The filtering behaviour can be controlled using sysctl(8):
net.link.bridge.pfil_onlyip Controls the handling of non-IP packets which are not passed to pfil(9). Set to 1 to only allow IP packets to
pass (subject to firewall rules), set to 0 to unconditionally pass all non-IP Ethernet frames.
net.link.bridge.pfil_member Set to 1 to enable filtering on the incoming and outgoing member interfaces, set to 0 to disable it.
net.link.bridge.pfil_bridge Set to 1 to enable filtering on the bridge interface, set to 0 to disable it.
Set to 1 to additionally filter on the physical interface for locally destined packets. Set to 0 to disable
net.link.bridge.ipfw Set to 1 to enable layer2 filtering with ipfirewall(4), set to 0 to disable it. This needs to be enabled for
dummynet(4) support. When ipfw is enabled, pfil_bridge and pfil_member will be disabled so that IPFW is not run
twice; these can be re-enabled if desired.
net.link.bridge.ipfw_arp Set to 1 to enable layer2 ARP filtering with ipfirewall(4), set to 0 to disable it. Requires ipfw to be
ARP and REVARP packets are forwarded without being filtered and others that are not IP nor IPv6 packets are not forwarded when pfil_onlyip is
enabled. IPFW can filter Ethernet types using mac-type so all packets are passed to the filter for processing.
The packets originating from the bridging host will be seen by the filter on the interface that is looked up in the routing table.
The packets destined to the bridging host will be seen by the filter on the interface with the MAC address equal to the packet's destination
MAC. There are situations when some of the bridge members are sharing the same MAC address (for example the vlan(4) interfaces: they are
currenly sharing the MAC address of the parent physical interface). It is not possible to distinguish between these interfaces using their
MAC address, excluding the case when the packet's destination MAC address is equal to the MAC address of the interface on which the packet
was entered to the system. In this case the filter will see the incoming packet on this interface. In all other cases the interface seen by
the packet filter is chosen from the list of bridge members with the same MAC address and the result strongly depends on the member addition
sequence and the actual implementation of if_bridge. It is not recommended to rely on the order chosen by the current if_bridge implementa-
tion: it can be changed in the future.
The previous paragraph is best illustrated with the following pictures. Let
o the MAC address of the incoming packet's destination is nn:nn:nn:nn:nn:nn,
o the interface on which packet entered the system is ifX,
o ifX MAC address is xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx,
o there are possibly other bridge members with the same MAC address xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx,
o the bridge has more than one interface that are sharing the same MAC address yy:yy:yy:yy:yy:yy; we will call them vlanY1, vlanY2, etc.
Then if the MAC address nn:nn:nn:nn:nn:nn is equal to the xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx then the filter will see the packet on the interface ifX no mat-
ter if there are any other bridge members carrying the same MAC address. But if the MAC address nn:nn:nn:nn:nn:nn is equal to the
yy:yy:yy:yy:yy:yy then the interface that will be seen by the filter is one of the vlanYn. It is not possible to predict the name of the
actual interface without the knowledge of the system state and the if_bridge implementation details.
This problem arises for any bridge members that are sharing the same MAC address, not only to the vlan(4) ones: they we taken just as the
example of such situation. So if one wants the filter the locally destined packets based on their interface name, one should be aware of
this implication. The described situation will appear at least on the filtering bridges that are doing IP-forwarding; in some of such cases
it is better to assign the IP address only to the if_bridge interface and not to the bridge members. Enabling
net.link.bridge.pfil_local_phys will let you do the additional filtering on the physical interface.
The following when placed in the file /etc/rc.conf will cause a bridge called ``bridge0'' to be created, and will add the interfaces
``wlan0'' and ``fxp0'' to the bridge, and then enable packet forwarding. Such a configuration could be used to implement a simple 802.11-to-
Ethernet bridge (assuming the 802.11 interface is in ad-hoc mode).
ifconfig_bridge0="addm wlan0 addm fxp0 up"
For the bridge to forward packets all member interfaces and the bridge need to be up. The above example would also require:
ifconfig_wlan0="up ssid my_ap mode 11g"
Consider a system with two 4-port Ethernet boards. The following will cause a bridge consisting of all 8 ports with Rapid Spanning Tree
enabled to be created:
ifconfig bridge0 create
addm fxp0 stp fxp0
addm fxp1 stp fxp1
addm fxp2 stp fxp2
addm fxp3 stp fxp3
addm fxp4 stp fxp4
addm fxp5 stp fxp5
addm fxp6 stp fxp6
addm fxp7 stp fxp7
The bridge can be used as a regular host interface at the same time as bridging between its member ports. In this example, the bridge con-
nects em0 and em1, and will receive its IP address through DHCP:
ifconfig_bridge0="addm em0 addm em1 DHCP"
The bridge can tunnel Ethernet across an IP internet using the EtherIP protocol. This can be combined with ipsec(4) to provide an encrypted
connection. Create a gif(4) interface and set the local and remote IP addresses for the tunnel, these are reversed on the remote bridge.
ifconfig gif0 create
ifconfig gif0 tunnel 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206 up
ifconfig bridge0 create
ifconfig bridge0 addm fxp0 addm gif0 up
Note that FreeBSD 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 7.0, 7.1, and 7.2 have a bug in the EtherIP protocol. For more details and workaround, see gif(4) manual
gif(4), ipf(4), ipfw(4), pf(4), ifconfig(8)
The if_bridge driver first appeared in FreeBSD 6.0.
The bridge driver was originally written by Jason L. Wright <email@example.com> as part of an undergraduate independent study at the Univer-
sity of North Carolina at Greensboro.
This version of the if_bridge driver has been heavily modified from the original version by Jason R. Thorpe <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) support was added by Andrew Thompson <thompsa@FreeBSD.org>.
The if_bridge driver currently supports only Ethernet and Ethernet-like (e.g., 802.11) network devices, with exactly the same interface MTU
size as the bridge device.
January 9, 2010 BSD