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 debugging or when system tuning is needed.

If no arguments are given,

ifconfig displays the status of the currently active interfaces. 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 interfaces, even those that are down. Otherwise, it configures an interface.

4. 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 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).



    display all interfaces which are currently available, even if down


    display a short list (like netstat -i)


    be more verbose for some error conditions


    The name of the interface. This is usually a driver name followed by a unit number, 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

R Note: for every scope (i.e. same net with address/netmask combination) all aliases are deleted, if you delete the first (primary).


    This flag causes the interface to be activated. It is implicitly specified if an address is assigned to the interface.


    This flag causes the driver for this interface to be shut down.


    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.

metric N

    This parameter sets the interface metric.

mtu N

    This parameter sets the Maximum Transfer Unit (MTU) of an interface.

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 address 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 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 NET/ROM).


    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.

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 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

R ipchains (8) or

R 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 (SIOCSIIFLAGS: Resource temporarily unavailable)it is most likely a interrupt conflict. See DEBUTINLINEhttp://www.scyld.com/expert/irq-conflict.html FININLINEfor more information.




While appletalk DDP and IPX addresses will be displayed they cannot be altered by this command.


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, <>
Alan Cox, <>
Phil Blundell, <>
Andi Kleen
Bernd Eckenfels, <>