Network configuration

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This article describes how to configure network connections on OSI layer 3 and above. Medium-specifics are handled in the /Ethernet and /Wireless subpages.

Check the connection

To troubleshoot a network connection, go through the following conditions and ensure that you meet them:

  1. Your network interface is listed and enabled. Otherwise, check the device driver – see /Ethernet#Device driver or /Wireless#Device driver.
  2. You are connected to the network. The cable is plugged in or you are connected to the wireless LAN.
  3. Your network interface has an IP address.
  4. Your routing table is correctly set up.
  5. You can ping a local IP address (e.g. your default gateway).
  6. You can ping a public IP address (e.g. 8.8.8.8, which is a Google DNS server and is a convenient address to test with).
  7. Check if you can resolve domain names (e.g. archlinux.org).

Ping

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Reason: Add or link explanation of common ping errors like Unknown hosts / Network is unreachable. (Discuss in Talk:Network configuration#)

ping is used to test if you can reach a host.

$ ping www.example.com
PING www.example.com (93.184.216.34): 56(84) data bytes
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=0 ttl=56 time=11.632 ms
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=11.726 ms
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=10.683 ms
...

For every reply you receive, the ping utility will print a line like the above. For more information see the ping(8) manual. Note that computers can be configured not to respond to ICMP echo requests. [1]

If you receive no reply, this may be related to your default gateway or your Internet Service Provider (ISP). You can run a traceroute to further diagnose the route to the host.

Note: If you receive an error like ping: icmp open socket: Operation not permitted when executing ping, try to re-install the iputils package.

Network management

To set up a network connection, go through the following steps:

  1. Ensure your network interface is listed and enabled.
  2. Connect to the network. Plug in the Ethernet cable or connect to the wireless LAN.
  3. Configure your network connection:
Note: The installation image enables dhcpcd (dhcpcd@interface.service) for wired network devices on boot.

net-tools

Arch Linux has deprecated net-tools in favor of iproute2.[2]

Deprecated command Replacement commands
arp ip neighbor
ifconfig ip address, ip link
netstat ss
route ip route

For a more complete rundown, see this blog post.

iproute2

iproute2 is a dependency of the base meta package and provides the ip(8) command-line interface, used to manage network interfaces, IP addresses and the routing table. Be aware that configuration made using ip will be lost after a reboot. For persistent configuration, you can use a network manager or automate ip commands using scripts and systemd units. Also note that ip commands can generally be abbreviated, for clarity they are however spelled out in this article.

Network interfaces

By default udev assigns names to your network interfaces using Predictable Network Interface Names, which prefixes interfaces names with en (wired/Ethernet), wl (wireless/WLAN), or ww (WWAN).

Tip: To change interface names, see #Change interface name and #Revert to traditional interface names.

Listing network interfaces

Both wired and wireless interface names can be found via ls /sys/class/net or ip link. Note that lo is the loop device and not used in making network connections.

Wireless device names can also be retrieved using iw dev. See also /Wireless#Get the name of the interface.

If your network interface is not listed, make sure your device driver was loaded successfully.

Enabling and disabling network interfaces

Network interfaces can be enabled / disabled using ip link set interface up|down, see ip-link(8).

To check the status of the interface eth0:

$ ip link show dev eth0
2: eth0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast master br0 state DOWN mode DEFAULT qlen 1000
...

The UP in <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> is what indicates the interface is up, not the later state DOWN.

Note: If your default route is through interface eth0, taking it down will also remove the route, and bringing it back up will not automatically re-establish the default route. See #Routing table for re-establishing it.

Static IP address

A static IP address can be configured with most standard network managers and also dhcpcd.

To manually configure a static IP address, add an IP address as described in #IP addresses, set up your routing table and configure your DNS servers.

IP addresses

IP addresses are managed using ip-address(8).

List IP addresses:

$ ip address show

Add an IP address to an interface:

# ip address add address/prefix_len broadcast + dev interface
Note that:
Note: Make sure manually assigned IP addresses do not conflict with DHCP assigned ones.

Delete an IP address from an interface:

$ ip address del address/prefix_len dev interface

Delete all addresses matching a criteria, e.g. of a specific interface:

$ ip address flush dev interface
Tip: IP addresses can be calculated with ipcalc (ipcalc).

Routing table

The routing table is used to determine if you can reach an IP address directly or what gateway (router) you should use. If no other route matches the IP address, the default gateway is used.

The routing table is managed using ip-route(8).

PREFIX is either a CIDR notation or default for the default gateway.

List IPv4 routes:

$ ip route show

List IPv6 routes:

$ ip -6 route

Add a route:

# ip route add PREFIX via address dev interface

Delete a route:

# ip route del PREFIX via address dev interface

DHCP

A Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server provides clients with a dynamic IP address, the subnet mask, the default gateway IP address and optionally also with DNS name servers.

Note: You should not run two DHCP clients simultaneously.

To use DHCP you need a DHCP server in your network and a DHCP client:

Client Package Archiso Note Systemd units
dhcpcd dhcpcd Yes DHCP, DHCPv6, ZeroConf, static IP dhcpcd.service, dhcpcd@interface.service
ISC dhclient dhclient Yes DHCP, DHCPv6, BOOTP, static IP dhclient@interface.service

Note that instead of directly using a DHCP client you can also use a network manager.

Tip: You can check if a DHCP server is running with dhcping.

Network managers

A network manager lets you manage network connection settings in so called network profiles to facilitate switching networks.

Note: There are many solutions to choose from, but remember that all of them are mutually exclusive; you should not run two daemons simultaneously.
Network manager GUI Archiso [3] CLI tools PPP support
(e.g. 3G modem)
DHCP client Systemd units
ConnMan 8 unofficial No connmanctl(1) Yes (with ofonoAUR) internal connman.service
netctl 2 unofficial Yes netctl(1), wifi-menu Yes dhcpcd or dhclient netctl-ifplugd@interface.service, netctl-auto@interface.service
NetworkManager Yes No nmcli(1), nmtui(1) Yes internal, dhcpcd or dhclient NetworkManager.service
systemd-networkd No Yes (base) networkctl(1) No internal systemd-networkd.service, systemd-resolved.service
Wicd Yes No wicd-cli(8), wicd-curses(8) No dhcpcd wicd.service

There also is Wifi Radar, a GUI application to manage WiFi networks with wireless_tools, it however does not handle wired connections.

See also List of applications#Network managers.

Set the hostname

A hostname is a unique name created to identify a machine on a network, configured in /etc/hostname—see hostname(5) and hostname(7) for details. The file can contain the system's domain name, if any. To set the hostname, edit /etc/hostname to include a single line with myhostname:

/etc/hostname
myhostname
Tip: For advice on choosing a hostname, see RFC 1178.

Alternatively, using hostnamectl(1):

# hostnamectl set-hostname myhostname

To temporarily set the hostname (until reboot), use hostname(1) from inetutils:

# hostname myhostname

To set the "pretty" hostname and other machine metadata, see machine-info(5).

Local hostname resolution

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Reason: Explain why you want a resolvable hostname, why 127.0.1.1 is used (and why a static IP address should be preferred over it). (Discuss in Talk:Network configuration#)

The myhostname Name Service Switch (NSS) module of systemd provides local hostname resolution without having to edit /etc/hosts (hosts(5)). It is enabled by default.

Some clients may however still rely on /etc/hosts, see [4] [5] for examples.

To configure the hosts file, add the following lines to /etc/hosts:

127.0.0.1        localhost
::1              localhost
127.0.1.1        myhostname.localdomain        myhostname
Note: The order of hostnames/aliases that follow the IP address in /etc/hosts is significant. The first string is considered the canonical hostname and may be appended with parent domains, where domain components are separated by a dot (ie. .localdomain above). All following strings on the same line are considered aliases. See hosts(5) for more info.

As a result the system resolves to both entries:

$ getent hosts
127.0.0.1       localhost
127.0.0.1       localhost
127.0.1.1       myhostname.localdomain myhostname

For a system with a permanent IP address, that permanent IP address should be used instead of 127.0.1.1.

Local network hostname resolution

To make your machine accessible in your LAN via its hostname you can:

  • edit the /etc/hosts file for every device in your LAN, see hosts(5)
  • set up a DNS server to resolve your hostname and make the LAN devices use it (e.g. via #DHCP)
  • or the easy way: use a Zero-configuration networking service:
    • Hostname resolution via Microsoft's NetBIOS. Provided by Samba on Linux. It only requires the nmb.service. Computers running Windows, macOS, or Linux with nmb running, will be able to find your machine.
    • Hostname resolution via mDNS. Provided by either nss_mdns with Avahi (see Avahi#Hostname resolution for setup details) or systemd-resolved. Computers running macOS, or Linux with Avahi or systemd-resolved running, will be able to find your machine. Windows does not have a built-in mDNS client or daemon.

Tips and tricks

Change interface name

Note: When changing the naming scheme, do not forget to update all network-related configuration files and custom systemd unit files to reflect the change.

You can change the device name by defining the name manually with an udev-rule. For example:

/etc/udev/rules.d/10-network.rules
SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", ATTR{address}=="aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff", NAME="net1"
SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", ATTR{address}=="ff:ee:dd:cc:bb:aa", NAME="net0"

These rules will be applied automatically at boot.

A couple of things to note:

  • To get the MAC address of each card, use this command: cat /sys/class/net/device_name/address
  • Make sure to use the lower-case hex values in your udev rules. It does not like upper-case.

If the network card has a dynamic MAC, you can use DEVPATH, for example:

/etc/udev/rules.d/10-network.rules
SUBSYSTEM=="net", DEVPATH=="/devices/platform/wemac.*", NAME="int"
SUBSYSTEM=="net", DEVPATH=="/devices/pci*/*1c.0/*/net/*", NAME="en"

To get the DEVPATH of all currently-connected devices, see where the symlinks in /sys/class/net/ lead. For example:

file /sys/class/net/*
/sys/class/net/enp0s20f0u4u1: symbolic link to ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb2/2-4/2-4.1/2-4.1:1.0/net/enp0s20f0u4u1
/sys/class/net/enp0s31f6:     symbolic link to ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1f.6/net/enp0s31f6
/sys/class/net/lo:            symbolic link to ../../devices/virtual/net/lo
/sys/class/net/wlp4s0:        symbolic link to ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.6/0000:04:00.0/net/wlp4s0

The device path should match both the new and old device name, since the rule may be executed more than once on bootup. For example, in the second rule, "/devices/pci*/*1c.0/*/net/enp*" would be wrong since it will stop matching once the name is changed to en. Only the system-default rule will fire the second time around, causing the name to be changed back to e.g. enp1s0.

If you are using a USB network device (e.g. Android phone tethering) that has a dynamic MAC address and you want to be able to use different USB ports, you could use a rule that matched depending on vendor and product ID instead:

/etc/udev/rules.d/10-network.rules
SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", ATTRS{idVendor}=="12ab", ATTRS{idProduct}=="3cd4", NAME="net2"

To test your rules, they can be triggered directly from userspace, e.g. with udevadm --debug test /sys/class/net/*. Remember to first take down the interface you are trying to rename (e.g. ip link set enp1s0 down).

Note: When choosing the static names it should be avoided to use names in the format of "ethX" and "wlanX", because this may lead to race conditions between the kernel and udev during boot. Instead, it is better to use interface names that are not used by the kernel as default, e.g.: net0, net1, wifi0, wifi1. For further details please see the systemd documentation.

Revert to traditional interface names

If you would prefer to retain traditional interface names such as eth0, Predictable Network Interface Names can be disabled by masking the udev rule:

# ln -s /dev/null /etc/udev/rules.d/80-net-setup-link.rules

Alternatively, add net.ifnames=0 to the kernel parameters.

Set device MTU and queue length

You can change the device MTU and queue length by defining manually with an udev-rule. For example:

/etc/udev/rules.d/10-network.rules
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", KERNEL=="wl*", ATTR{mtu}="1500", ATTR{tx_queue_len}="2000"
Note:
  • mtu: For PPPoE, the MTU should be no larger than 1492. You can also set MTU via systemd.netdev(5).
  • tx_queue_len: Small value for slower devices with a high latency like modem links and ISDN. High value is recommend for server connected over the high-speed Internet connections that perform large data transfers.

Bonding or LAG

See netctl#Bonding or Wireless bonding.

IP address aliasing

IP aliasing is the process of adding more than one IP address to a network interface. With this, one node on a network can have multiple connections to a network, each serving a different purpose. Typical uses are virtual hosting of Web and FTP servers, or reorganizing servers without having to update any other machines (this is especially useful for nameservers).

Example

To manually set an alias, for some NIC, use iproute2 to execute

# ip addr add 192.168.2.101/24 dev eth0 label eth0:1

To remove a given alias execute

# ip addr del 192.168.2.101/24 dev eth0:1

Packets destined for a subnet will use the primary alias by default. If the destination IP is within a subnet of a secondary alias, then the source IP is set respectively. Consider the case where there is more than one NIC, the default routes can be listed with ip route.

Promiscuous mode

Toggling promiscuous mode will make a (wireless) NIC forward all traffic it receives to the OS for further processing. This is opposite to "normal mode" where a NIC will drop frames it is not intended to receive. It is most often used for advanced network troubleshooting and packet sniffing.

/etc/systemd/system/promiscuous@.service
[Unit]
Description=Set %i interface in promiscuous mode
After=network.target

[Service]
Type=oneshot
ExecStart=/usr/bin/ip link set dev %i promisc on
RemainAfterExit=yes

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

If you want to enable promiscuous mode on interface eth0 run enable promiscuous@eth0.service.

Investigate sockets

ss is a utility to investigate network ports and is part of the iproute2 package. It has a similar functionality to the deprecated netstat utility.

Common usage includes:

Display all TCP Sockets with service names:

$ ss -at

Display all TCP Sockets with port numbers:

$ ss -atn

Display all UDP Sockets:

$ ss -au

For more information see ss(8).

Troubleshooting

The TCP window scaling problem

TCP packets contain a "window" value in their headers indicating how much data the other host may send in return. This value is represented with only 16 bits, hence the window size is at most 64Kb. TCP packets are cached for a while (they have to be reordered), and as memory is (or used to be) limited, one host could easily run out of it.

Back in 1992, as more and more memory became available, RFC 1323 was written to improve the situation: Window Scaling. The "window" value, provided in all packets, will be modified by a Scale Factor defined once, at the very beginning of the connection. That 8-bit Scale Factor allows the Window to be up to 32 times higher than the initial 64Kb.

It appears that some broken routers and firewalls on the Internet are rewriting the Scale Factor to 0 which causes misunderstandings between hosts. The Linux kernel 2.6.17 introduced a new calculation scheme generating higher Scale Factors, virtually making the aftermaths of the broken routers and firewalls more visible.

The resulting connection is at best very slow or broken.

How to diagnose the problem

First of all, let us make it clear: this problem is odd. In some cases, you will not be able to use TCP connections (HTTP, FTP, ...) at all and in others, you will be able to communicate with some hosts (very few).

When you have this problem, the dmesg's output is OK, logs are clean and ip addr will report normal status... and actually everything appears normal.

If you cannot browse any website, but you can ping some random hosts, chances are great that you are experiencing this problem: ping uses ICMP and is not affected by TCP problems.

You can try to use Wireshark. You might see successful UDP and ICMP communications but unsuccessful TCP communications (only to foreign hosts).

Ways of fixing it

Bad

To fix it the bad way, you can change the tcp_rmem value, on which Scale Factor calculation is based. Although it should work for most hosts, it is not guaranteed, especially for very distant ones.

# echo "4096 87380 174760" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_rmem
Good

Simply disable Window Scaling. Since Window Scaling is a nice TCP feature, it may be uncomfortable to disable it, especially if you cannot fix the broken router. There are several ways to disable Window Scaling, and it seems that the most bulletproof way (which will work with most kernels) is to add the following line to /etc/sysctl.d/99-disable_window_scaling.conf (see also sysctl):

net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling = 0
Best

This problem is caused by broken routers/firewalls, so let us change them. Some users have reported that the broken router was their very own DSL router.

More about it

This section is based on the LWN article TCP window scaling and broken routers and an archived Kernel Trap article: Window Scaling on the Internet.

There are also several relevant threads on the LKML.

See also