Category Archives: Linux System Administration

Notes from administering and working with Linux based servers.

Multiple IPv6 Addresses per Interface

Using ‘ifconfig’ on Debian Lenny, multiple IPv6 addresses can be added using entries in ‘/etc/network/interfaces’ with the ‘up’ and ‘down’ options. For example:

iface eth0 inet6 static
        address 2001:41c8:1:5568::100
        netmask 64
        gateway fe80::1
        pre-up echo 0 > /proc/sys/net/ipv6/conf/eth0/autoconf
        up /sbin/ifconfig eth0 inet6 add 2001:41c8:1:5568::1:100/64
        up /sbin/ifconfig eth0 inet6 add 2001:41c8:1:5568::2:100/64
        down /sbin/ifconfig eth0 inet6 del 2001:41c8:1:5568::1:100/64
        down /sbin/ifconfig eth0 inet6 del 2001:41c8:1:5568::2:100/64

Linux Networking Bridge

It is often useful to place a Linux system on a specific network cable, to packet sniff or modify the network behaviour. The network setup:

[switch] - ethernet cable - [node]


[switch] - ethernet cable - [[Linux Bridge]] - ethernet cable - [node]

The only requirement for the Linux Bridge is two physical network interfaces and root access.

Important: stop Network Manager
/etc/init.d/network-manager stop

As root, setup the bridge with the commands below:

brctl addbr br0
brctl addif br0 eth0
brctl addif br0 eth1
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
ifconfig eth0 up
ifconfig eth1 up
ifconfig br0 up


The Linux Bridge Interface (br0) does not require an IP address, and no configuration changes are required on the network.

Using tcpdump or wireshark on the Linux Bridge (br0), it is possible to monitor all network traffic going to or from the network node. Using tc and iptables network traffic may be manipulated to facilitate testing.

IPv6 and IPv4 Preference

When a site is reachable using both IPv4 and IPv6, Linux by default has a preference which is roughly:

  1. Native IPv6
  2. Native IPv4
  3. 6to4 tunnels

To change this preference, edit ‘/etc/gai.conf’
uncomment most of the labels:

label ::1/128       0
label ::/0          1
#label 2002::/16     2
label ::ffff:0:0/96 2
label fec0::/10     3
label fc00::/7      4
label 2001:0::/32   5
label ::/96         6

(note that 2002::/16 [6to4] is left commented out)

and have the precendence configured as:

precedence  ::1/128       50
precedence  ::/0          40
precedence  2002::/16     30
precedence ::/96          20
precedence ::ffff:0:0/96  10
#    For sites which prefer IPv4 connections change the last line to
#precedence ::ffff:0:0/96  100

For these changes to have effect, restart the appropriate applications eg. Firefox.

IPv6 over IPv4 on Linux using 6to4

6to4 is a tunneling protocol for using IPv6 over an IPv4 connection, and it’s configuration on Linux is well described.

Note: this can only apply to interfaces which have a public IPv4 address

A 6to4 tunnel can be configured using the following shell script


# set the interface name

# calculate the IPv6 address
ipv4=`/sbin/ifconfig $if | grep "inet addr" | sed -e 's/^. *inet addr://' | sed 
-e 's/ .*$//'`
ipv4s=`echo $ipv4 | tr "." " "`

ipv6=`printf "2002:%02x%02x:%02x%02x::1" $ipv4s `

case "$1" in
/sbin/ip tunnel add tun6to4 mode sit ttl 128 remote any local $ipv4
/sbin/ip link set dev tun6to4 up
/sbin/ip -6 addr add $ipv6/16 dev tun6to4
/sbin/ip -6 route add 2000::/3 via :: dev tun6to4 metric 1
# configure firewall
/sbin/ip6tables -A INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
/sbin/ip6tables -A INPUT -j DROP
/sbin/ip -6 route flush dev tun6to4
/sbin/ip link set dev tun6to4 down
/sbin/ip tunnel del tun6to4
# clear firewall
/sbin/ip6tables -F INPUT
    echo "usage: ipv6 {start|stop}"
    exit 1

exit 0

This will create a new interface ‘tun6to4’ which will be used for IPv6.

See here for link preference.