IFCONFIG(8) BSD System Manager's Manual IFCONFIG(8)NAMEifconfig — configure network interface parameters
SYNOPSISifconfig [-L] [-m] interface [create] [address_family]
[address[/prefixlength] [dest_address]] [parameters]
ifconfig interface destroy
ifconfig-a [-L] [-d] [-m] [-u] [address_family]
ifconfig-l [-d] [-u] [address_family]
ifconfig [-L] [-d] [-m] [-u]
Ifconfig is used to assign an address to a network interface and/or con‐
figure network interface parameters. Ifconfig must be used at boot time
to define the network address of each interface present on a machine; it
may also be used at a later time to redefine an interface's address or
other operating parameters.
The following options are available:
For the DARPA-Internet family, the address is either a host name
present in the host name data base, hosts(5), or a DARPA Internet
address expressed in the Internet standard “dot notation”.
It is also possible to use the CIDR notation (also known as the
slash notation) to include the netmask. That is, one can specify
an address like 192.168.0.1/16.
Specify the address family which affects interpretation of the
remaining parameters. Since an interface can receive transmis‐
sions in differing protocols with different naming schemes, spec‐
ifying the address family is recommended. The address or proto‐
col families currently supported are “inet”, “inet6”,
Specify the address of the correspondent on the other end of a
point to point link.
This parameter is a string of the form “name unit”, for example,
The following parameters may be set with ifconfig:
add Another name for the alias parameter. Introduced for compatibil‐
ity with BSD/OS.
alias Establish an additional network address for this interface. This
is sometimes useful when changing network numbers, and one wishes
to accept packets addressed to the old interface. If the address
is on the same subnet as the first network address for this
interface, a netmask of 0xffffffff has to be specified.
-alias Remove the network address specified. This would be used if you
incorrectly specified an alias, or it was no longer needed. If
you have incorrectly set an NS address having the side effect of
specifying the host portion, removing all NS addresses will allow
you to respecify the host portion.
(Inet6 only.) Specify that the address configured is an anycast
address. Based on the current specification, only routers may
configure anycast addresses. Anycast address will not be used as
source address of any of outgoing IPv6 packets.
arp Enable the use of the Address Resolution Protocol (arp(4)) in
mapping between network level addresses and link level addresses
(default). This is currently implemented for mapping between
DARPA Internet addresses and IEEE 802 48-bit MAC addresses (Eth‐
ernet, FDDI, and Token Ring addresses).
-arp Disable the use of the Address Resolution Protocol (arp(4)).
(Inet only.) Specify the address to use to represent broadcasts
to the network. The default broadcast address is the address
with a host part of all 1's.
debug Enable driver dependent debugging code; usually, this turns on
extra console error logging.
-debug Disable driver dependent debugging code.
delete Another name for the -alias parameter.
down Mark an interface “down”. When an interface is marked “down”,
the system will not attempt to transmit messages through that
interface. If possible, the interface will be reset to disable
reception as well. This action does not automatically disable
routes using the interface.
ether Another name for the lladdr parameter.
Set the link-level address on an interface. This can be used to
e.g. set a new MAC address on an ethernet interface, though the
mechanism used is not ethernet-specific. The address addr is
specified as a series of colon-separated hex digits. If the
interface is already up when this option is used, it will be
briefly brought down and then brought back up again in order to
ensure that the receive filter in the underlying ethernet hard‐
ware is properly reprogrammed.
If the driver supports the media selection system, set the media
type of the interface to type. Some interfaces support the mutu‐
ally exclusive use of one of several different physical media
connectors. For example, a 10Mb/s Ethernet interface might sup‐
port the use of either AUI or twisted pair connectors. Setting
the media type to “10base5/AUI” would change the currently active
connector to the AUI port. Setting it to “10baseT/UTP” would
activate twisted pair. Refer to the interfaces' driver specific
documentation or man page for a complete list of the available
If the driver supports the media selection system, set the speci‐
fied media options on the interface. The opts argument is a
comma delimited list of options to apply to the interface. Refer
to the interfaces' driver specific man page for a complete list
of available options.
If the driver supports the media selection system, disable the
specified media options on the interface.
tunnel src_addr dest_addr
(IP tunnel devices only.) Configure the physical source and des‐
tination address for IP tunnel interfaces (gif(4)). The argu‐
ments src_addr and dest_addr are interpreted as the outer
source/destination for the encapsulating IPv4/IPv6 header.
Unconfigure the physical source and destination address for IP
tunnel interfaces previously configured with tunnel.
create Create the specified network pseudo-device. If the interface is
given without a unit number, try to create a new device with an
arbitrary unit number. If creation of an arbitrary device is
sucessful, the new device name is printed to standard output.
Destroy the specified network pseudo-device.
plumb Another name for the create parameter. Included for Solaris com‐
Another name for the destroy parameter. Included for Solaris
Set the routing metric of the interface to n, default 0. The
routing metric is used by the routing protocol (routed(8)).
Higher metrics have the effect of making a route less favorable;
metrics are counted as addition hops to the destination network
mtu n Set the maximum transmission unit of the interface to n, default
is interface specific. The MTU is used to limit the size of
packets that are transmitted on an interface. Not all interfaces
support setting the MTU, and some interfaces have range restric‐
(Inet only.) Specify how much of the address to reserve for sub‐
dividing networks into sub-networks. The mask includes the net‐
work part of the local address and the subnet part, which is
taken from the host field of the address. The mask can be speci‐
fied as a single hexadecimal number with a leading ‘0x’, with a
dot-notation Internet address, or with a pseudo-network name
listed in the network table networks(5). The mask contains 1's
for the bit positions in the 32-bit address which are to be used
for the network and subnet parts, and 0's for the host part. The
mask should contain at least the standard network portion, and
the subnet field should be contiguous with the network portion.
The netmask can also be specified in CIDR notation after the
address. See the address option above for more information.
(Inet6 only.) Specify that len bits are reserved for subdividing
networks into sub-networks. The len must be integer, and for
syntactical reason it must be between 0 to 128. It is almost
always 64 under the current IPv6 assignment rule. If the parame‐
ter is omitted, 64 is used.
remove Another name for the -alias parameter. Introduced for compati‐
bility with BSD/OS.
Enable special processing of the link level of the interface.
These three options are interface specific in actual effect, how‐
ever, they are in general used to select special modes of opera‐
tion. An example of this is to enable SLIP compression, or to
select the connector type for some Ethernet cards. Refer to the
man page for the specific driver for more information.
Disable special processing at the link level with the specified
up Mark an interface “up”. This may be used to enable an interface
after an “ifconfig down”. It happens automatically when setting
the first address on an interface. If the interface was reset
when previously marked down, the hardware will be re-initialized.
Ifconfig displays the current configuration for a network interface when
no optional parameters are supplied. If a protocol family is specified,
ifconfig will report only the details specific to that protocol family.
If the driver does supports the media selection system, the supported
media list will be included in the output.
If the -m flag is passed before an interface name, ifconfig will display
all of the supported media for the specified interface. If -L flag is
supplied, address lifetime is displayed for IPv6 addresses, as time off‐
Optionally, the -a flag may be used instead of an interface name. This
flag instructs ifconfig to display information about all interfaces in
the system. The -d flag limits this to interfaces that are down, and -u
limits this to interfaces that are up. When no arguments are given, -a
The -l flag may be used to list all available interfaces on the system,
with no other additional information. Use of this flag is mutually
exclusive with all other flags and commands, except for -d (only list
interfaces that are down) and -u (only list interfaces that are up).
Only the super-user may modify the configuration of a network interface.
The media selection system is relatively new and only some drivers sup‐
port it (or have need for it).
Messages indicating the specified interface does not exist, the requested
address is unknown, or the user is not privileged and tried to alter an
IPv6 link-local addresses are required for several basic communication
between IPv6 node. If they are deleted by ifconfig manually, the kernel
might show very strange behavior. So, such manual deletions are strongly
SEE ALSOnetstat(1), netintro(4), rc(8), routed(8)HISTORY
The ifconfig command appeared in 4.2BSD.
BSD July 2, 2001 BSD