Useful Linux Networking Commands
This article describes most useful Linux networking commands, as simple as it sounds.
The truth is that I am writing this article more for myself. I am rarely doing complex networking configurations. As a result, when I have to configure something, I often forget commands and their syntax. Often it takes hours to find out that the only reason why certain route command was not working is because I forgot to add some netmask parameter. Hence, this article.
At the moment I only have few commands described. I’ll add stuff at a time. In the meantime, enjoy it and if you have anything to add, please fill free to email me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table of Contents
Turn on/off network interface
Change interface IP address
Add second IP address to an interface
List ARP table
Add new ARP entry
Delete ARP entry
Configure default gateway
Add routing table entry for specified network
Using network interface name instead of gateway
Add routing table entry for specified host
Removing routing table entries
List listening sockets and associated port numbers and process PID
Generate statistics about
What driver is responsible for certain network interface
Figure out interface link speed
ifconfigBACK TO TOC
This command is number one command in the alphabet of Linux networking. It configures network interfaces. It features include
- Turning certain network interface on and off.
- Changing interface IP address.
- Changing netmask, MTU and other network parameters of the interface.
- Putting interface into promiscuous mode.
Turn on/off network interfaceBACK TO TOC
Here are few simplest use scenarios.
ifconfig <interface name> down
Will turn off specified network interface. Similarly
ifconfig <interface name> up
Will turn specified network interface on.
Change interface IP addressBACK TO TOC
ifconfig <network interface> <ip address>
Will turn specified network interface on and give it a IP address.
Add second IP address to an interfaceBACK TO TOC
Another nice thing that you can do with ifconfig is specifying additional IP address for one of the interfaces. Think about it for a second. Why single physical interface should be limited to single IP address? What stops us from giving single interface several different IP addresses? And of course ifconfig is the tool that let you do the job.
As far as semantics concerned, it seems that ifconfig actually creates a new “virtual” interface. Yet, it is simply assigning a new IP address to given network interface. Here’s an example of doing so. Assuming we already have an interface named eth0, following command will create interface named eth0:0 and assign an IP address to it.
ifconfig eth0:0 <ip address>
arpBACK TO TOC
This command is more advanced, yet still exceptionally useful when configuring networks. It observes and alters so called ARP table. ARP stands for Address Resolution Protocol. ARP table defines relationships between MAC address and IP address. In particular, for every IP address, it defines appropriate MAC address. This used when computer decides to send packet to certain IP address and it has to find MAC address for the IP address. This is when ARP table becomes useful. Computer checks if IP address is in the table and if so picks MAC address from it. If IP address is not in the table, computer uses ARP protocol to find it. arp command used to observe and manually alter ARP table entries.
List ARP tableBACK TO TOC
In its basic form, when invoked, it prints content of the ARP table.
$ arp Address HWtype HWaddress Flags Mask Iface 192.168.2.174 ether 00:11:25:9B:7F:74 C eth0 192.168.2.2 ether 00:17:65:C7:10:45 C eth0
In this example, ARP table on my computer contains two entries. Note the HWtype column. It is common understanding that MAC address refers to Ethernet MAC address, but its not necessarily true. There are many L2 protocols and some have their own MAC address structure. For more information about L2 and protocols that belong to this layer see OSI model on Wikipedia.
Add new ARP entryBACK TO TOC
There are two things that you would probably like to do with ARP table; add and remove entries. This is how you add a new entry.
arp -s <ip address> <hardware address>
Again, hardware address is mostly Ethernet MAC address, but it is not always necessarily true.
Delete ARP entryBACK TO TOC
arp -d <ip address> arp -d <hardware address>
Both forms of this command delete the specified ARP address. First uses hostname or IP address to identify the ARP entry that we would like to delete. Second uses hardware address to identify appropriate ARP entry.
routeBACK TO TOC
This is another one of the most useful commands available for you in your toolbox. It manages routes between your computer and other computers and networks.
Configure default gatewayBACK TO TOC
One of the most important task that you can accomplish with this command is setting default gateway. This is how you do it.
route add default gw <ip address>
Here, ip address is the address of the default gateway.
Add routing table entry for specified networkBACK TO TOC
With following command you can add a static route to either a network or a specified host. This is how you do it.
route add -net <network address> netmask <netmask> gw <ip address> route add -net <network address> netmask <netmask> dev <network interface>
These two commands add a new static route to a network. The network address should end with 0 e.g 192.168.10.0. Otherwise route will return an error. Another way to specify the sub-network is by using the CIDR notation. In this case you don’t need to specify the netmask. For example
route add -net 192.168.101.0/24 gw 192.168.102.1
Note that in both cases you need a complete network specifications – either using netmask or using CIDR notation.
Using network interface name instead of gatewayBACK TO TOC
Interesting thing to notice here is that you can specify that packets to given IP address should be transmitted via certain network interface. This works with conjunction with ARP table. For example.
route add -net 192.168.101.0/24 dev eth1
Add routing table entry for specified hostBACK TO TOC
Another kind of routes that you can add with route command is route to certain host. This is how you do it.
route add -host <ip address> gw <gateway> route add -host <ip address> dev <network interface>
The principle is the same, although instead of specifying the network you specify a single host. For example.
route add -host 192.168.100.100 gw 192.168.102.5
Removing routing table entriesBACK TO TOC
When you want to remove a route, you can do it by specifying del instead of add. Here are several examples of commands removing routes.
route del -host 192.168.100.100 route del -net 192.168.101.0/24 route del -net 192.168.101.0 netmask 255.255.255.0
Note that when removing a route, there is no need to specify the gateway or the network interface that being used to reach that network or a host. The network or a host identifiers are enough to remove the route.
netstatBACK TO TOC
List listening sockets and associated port numbers and process PIDBACK TO TOC
This is a very powerful information providing tool. It can show lots of network related information. For instance, you would like to know if certain process is listening on a certain port. Easy!
$ netstat -l -p -n
Will print list of sockets being listened to accompanied by a process PID and name and port number that being listened to. Note that you need super-user rights to see the list PIDs. In the command above, -l causes netstat to list sockets that being listened to – i.e. servers running on the computer and waiting for someone to connect to them from outside. -p causes netstat to produce names of the processes and their PID and -n causes netstat to use numeric values for port numbers, instead of numbers from /etc/protocols.
Generate statistics aboutBACK TO TOC
Another nice thing that netstat can do for you is to generate statistics about traffic your Linux box received and transmitted. The catch here is that statistics printed per protocol. I.e. you can see number of ICMP packets received. You can do it with -i option.
$ netstat -i
ethtoolBACK TO TOC
What driver is responsible for certain network interfaceBACK TO TOC
Have you ever wondered what is the name of the driver powering certain network interface. Answering this question can be a real pain in the butt. Luckily, ethtool is here to answer.
$ ethtool -i <interface name>
Will tell you what driver is behind given interface, it’s version and firmware version. Note that running ethtool requires superuser privileges.
Figure out interface link speedBACK TO TOC
Another handy thing you can do with ethtool is to see the speed of the network interface. You can do it with…
$ ethtool <interface name>